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Movie Breakdown: Thale (Noah)

March 21, 2013

Film

People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

Watching films in the VOD format has been a real pleasure. You can almost rest assure that any film released “On Demand” isn’t going to be your traditional big Hollywood shitter. Oh yes, there are still bad movies (possibly worst movies) but from what I’ve seen so far they at least haven’t had all of the originality brutally shorn from them yet. What I’m trying to get at here is that I’ve never heard of Thale, and that excites me.

The Reality:

I’ve had the pleasure of working in small roles on a few minuscule film shoots and what always surprises me is how much can be done with a very small amount of people. Not saying that anything I’ve worked on has been Citizen Kane, but with a small crew, and a only a few locations we’ve certainly made films. I watch the credit sequence of Hollywood films stream by (and stream by and stream by) and I can’t help but think that the extraneous crew members of just fat could be sheared off. That’s why when a film like Thale – written, directed, produced and shot by Aleksander Nordaas – works this well on what I imagine can’t be a huge budget, it just solidifies this claim. Thale is the story of two dead body cleaners that stumble across a hulder – a beautiful, tailed forest creature of Norwegian lore.. With very little resources, and what I would imagine a very small budget (though the film certainly doesn’t look it), Nordaas is able to draw solid performances out of each member of his cast and use broad, but deft, strokes to create a broad and mysterious world. What Nordaas understands that so many directors with micro-budgets don’t is that you can show the edges of a bigger world, but you have to work with the resources that you have, and this means in many situations that you have to focus on only a small portion of that world. The story of Elvis (Erland Norvald) and his brief, magical dalliance with the hulder Thale (Silje Reinamo) is brief (77 minutes) but manages to evoke mood, atmosphere, and a sense of character and these character’s lives. This is a creepy film in the vein of Joss Whedon, tinged with humor but nonetheless graphic and at times skin-crawling. It is simple and small and a further proof that original, low-budget horror of high quality still exists in the world.

The Lesson:

You don’t need a city to film a movie. A small town, maybe, but not a city.

Thale is out on VOD now.

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