Reviewed by: Paz Newis

I like world cinema. I went to see that Finnish film about snow, as well as loads of Russian stuff, but I'd never heard of the Icelandic film industry. Poor me.

The landscape and the clear, bright northern light is the most arresting feature of Fridrick Thor Fridrickson's Falcons, although there are other merits to accompany Harald Paalgard's luminous photography.

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In this 21st century buddy movie, Simon (Keith Carradine), a Yankee ex-con, re-visits Iceland and, through the deux ex machina of Uncle Toti's stroke, falls in with Dua, an elfin, red headed, nubile artist, who is keeper of a prize Icelandic falcon.

The sets are gems of isolation. Some of the Seventies wallpaper must be seen to be remembered; it could be Fort William. Scenes with a bird of prey in cheap motel rooms are so powerful, it seems but a minor quibble that the film should have been called Falcon.

Yes, the characters are lone hunters as well, but we could have been treated to more focus on the glorious animal. Hopefully, Fridrickson, in future works, will calm the pace of cuts and linger 10, 20, 25 seconds more on the superb and subtle landscapes of Iceland. Make us look. We'll thank him.

While the plot admirably avoids cliche, the dialogue hits a few potholes of the "I don't believe he said that" variety, but these can be put aside because the scriptwriter's English is better than my Viking and, more pertinently, you easily come to care about the characters.

Simon rescues Dua from an uncomfortable situation at the start of their flight and from then on the pace is delicately handled, up a bit, gently on, with a sudden burst to the final surprising dénouement.

Falcons made me want to see Fridrickson's earlier film, the Oscar-nominated Children Of Nature, and left me eager for more of Margret Vilhjalmsdottir, who play's Dua, the catalyst of the film, with such enchanting sensitivity.

Reviewed on: 26 Jan 2005
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Falcons packshot
An American ex-con and a red-headed bird handler take flight in Iceland.
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Director: Friorik Por Frioriksson

Writer: Friorik Por Frioriksson, Einar Karason

Starring: Keith Carradine, Margret Vilhjalmsdottir, Ingvar Eggert Sigurosson, Petur Olafsson, Magnus Olafsson, Margret Olafsdottir

Year: 2002

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Iceland/UK/France/Germany/Norway


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