Tumult

Tumult

****

Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

There are four small figures in the vastness of the Scottish Highlands. They are warriors. They are bloodied. They are grievous wounded, harried by unseen pursuers.

The sky shadows, and there is strange percussion. Lens flare tracks across the screen, the only artifact in this valley. The sun glares off the surface of the loch, blinding in its intensity. The chief is wounded.

Bearded, tattooed, a rent in his abdomen, Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson tries to keep his sons from each other's throats. His Fair Son, Ívar Örn Sverrisson, talks to him of the Apothecary, that might yet save him. His Dark Son, Gísli Örn Garðarsson, is more concerned with how they came to be on this hillside, mostly armed but wearied, in danger.

"A ship sailing on a solid river" hoves into view. Aboard "apparations", tourists in their disposable rain capes. It is a confrontation out of time, in this place, but it will not be a quiet one. Johnny Barrington's film manages to keep its tongue in its cheek in fantastic circumstances - like Decapoda Shock it could be straight from the pages of British comics training-ground 2000AD, or given its painterly respect for the majesty of Scotland's wilderness the similarly gonzo Metal Hurlant.

The central performances are great - the warriors speak in the old tongue, subtitled. The tourists, led by Dolly Wells and driven by Raymond Mearns attempt communication - yet it is not just language that seperates them - tour guide here made Valkyrie, a chooser of the slain; Valhalla with a cellphone.

The music by Love Triangle is well used, but it's the technical excellence in the prosthetics by Mike and Steve Byrne, Anna Robbins' costume design, and Jessica Cruickshank's makeup that really sells TUMULT. The little details feel right - suspended disbelief will support an Incident In Time that sees someone bringing an SLR to a holmgang, but a stirrup can throw an audience completely. This is excellent stuff, blackly comic, uncompromising in its distinctive vision. Watching it at Glasgow Short Film Festival 2012 one is minded of Radio Scotland's traffic reports; the B974 Banchory to Fettercairn closed due to Vikings.

Reviewed on: 13 Feb 2012
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The chief of a band of battle-weary Norse warriors is about to hand over power to his son when they are confronted by something entirely unexpected.

Director: Johnny Barrington

Writer: Johnny Barrington

Starring: Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson

Year: 2011

Runtime: 13 minutes

Country: UK


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