“THALE” (DVD/Blu-ray Review)
THALE is a lovely film, epitomized by its titular creature, which is a gorgeous one indeed. Written and directed by Aleksander Nordaas and based on Norwegian folk tales of cow-tailed temptresses called Huldra, THALE (on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo from XLrator Media) takes a classic-monsters approach to its story, evoking empathy for the sheltered, experimented-on beauty (Silje Reinåmo) as well as the best-friend duo who discover her.
That pair, Elvis and Leo (Erlend Nervold and Jon Sigve Skard), are a pair of crime-scene cleaners. Well, Leo is; Elvis, his longtime best bud, is filling in to help him, and is particularly repulsed by his duties. As is typical of film friends—and, well, most adults—the two have drifted apart, and while their conflicts and ultimate revealing of secrets isn’t all that new, it is approached gently and with real chemistry between Nervold and Skard.
The same could readily be said for Nordaas’ yarn as a whole. The film certainly spins a familiar premise, yet the uncommon nature of the Huldra, the script and cast’s heart and good humor, the serene countryside photography and the movie’s overall short and sweet nature combine to craft something, once again, lovely. And that’s even considering the brief, latecoming carnage as well as the slightly dodgy digital FX.
With THALE a brief journey, however, the lack of extras on the discs is a bit disappointing. Nordaas looks to have achieved the film and its attractive style on a shoestring, and it would have been enlightening to learn how via a commentary or making-of feature. Plus, I imagine viewers of THALE will be plenty curious to know more on the Huldra legend, and a bit of that background would seem to have been a no-brainer.