A film that I had no real overt desire to see. But as we all know the best things in life come unlooked for. My friend, a Scandinavian film buff, chose this film for us because it fell in a time slot where there was nothing specific I wanted to see.
I did want to see this. I just didn’t know it.
Jomar is Depressed; he hides away in the tiny ski-lift shelter he also calls home. A visit from his ex’s new boyfriend and news of his 4-year old child, turns his complacency and paranoia into restlessness. Accidentally setting the lift house ablaze, he purposefully lets it burn, jumps on his snowmobile and hauls ass across the Norwegian winter-scape.
At this early stage in the film, the unfamiliarity that the audiences has with Jomar renders a palpable awkwardness over the events that take place. It's easy to mistake his quiet, contemplative nature for something more sinister like a brooding murderer or sexual deviant (believe me, it's built into the subscript.). But the audience soon realizes, that he is just simple, humble and meek. There is nothing sinister going on behind this character's eyes. It is the quintessential "big teddy bear" scenario. Sure, he steals some liquor here and supplies there, but there's just something about the character that won't allow you to hold it against him.
At the outset, it seems like he is still aimless and just going off into the wild to be lost – to get far from his discomfort. However, after a few encounters it is revealed that he is actually journeying to the valley where his child and ex live. The complexity of Jomar slowly unfolds, though his demeanor changes little throughout the film. But, it can be seen that his complacency and fear are slowly being morphed into resolution and determination. A tenderness grows out of Jomar’s decision to leave seclusion and receive the unknowns of life.
Littered with comic situations and serene moments, the journey smacks of Pilgrim’s Progress or The Neverending Story with its clearly independent stages of trial and triumph. Included in these little vignettes of his journey are:
A stay with a grandmother and her prepubescent granddaughter
A night alone in a little storm shelter during a blizzard
A laugh-out-loud meeting with farm-boy whose parents are out of town
And, lastly, an almost ethereal time spent in a tepee out on a frozen lake with an aged and dying man.
The undaunted Jomar, though hesitant at times, never looks back but faces what he knows may well be a painful homecoming of sorts. The final shot of the film is simple and purposefully understated in its poignancy, and because of that, it is memorable.
This film: A