' ' Cinema Romantico: CIFF Review: King Curling

Thursday, October 25, 2012

CIFF Review: King Curling

Curling, the infamous game of brooms and stones, is a game of patience and precision, two qualities that could either bring about a man’s inner peace or a drive man to insanity. Truls Paulsen (Atle Antonsen, suggesting a less manic Nordic Jack Black), curler extraordinaire, is the so-called Master of the Millimeter, so consumed with the delicate precision of his beloved sport that he suffers an on-ice breakdown and is carted away to the loony bin.

10 years pass. Truls is released into the care of his wife Sigrid (Linn Skaber), a controlling woman with a penchant for a reality TV. It is her mission to keep Truls on his meds and away from the broom. But Truls’ old curling pal Arne (Harald Eia) turns up to explain their mentor is in the hospital and in dire need of a lung transplant. The Curling Nationals are in but a week’s time and a Norwegian lottery winner has just pledged his earnings to the victorious team in an effort to showcase curling as more than a (groan) niche sport. A conflicted Truls will eventually, as he must, forgo his meds to pick up the rock because, as they say, all curlers are born with rocks in their hands (they don’t really say that) in order to win that cash to get that lung.

The film does not take the time to revel in the finer points of the sport and does not spend all that much time at the ice rink aside from the climactic third act. No, “King Curling” is a comedy, a broad comedy, but also a knowing one, providing every character his or her own trait and packing the film with pratfalls and berserk imagery and sexual innuendo that quite honestly would not have been out of place in “Bad Santa” and an artsy gal pal (Ane Dahl Torp) of Truls who gets too little screen time and, of course, a dog. It hits, it misses, different for every viewer, much like any movie of this sort, and so it goes.

What it is also is, though, is a sly send-up of sports movies, much more so than, say, “Dodgeball”, which bears a resemblance to “King Curling” but relied less on content and more on celebrity cameos. It never really explicitly says so but it’s fairly apparent that Truls is willing to risk his sanity for the glory of curling. It’s an obsession, not unlike, say, “Any Given Sunday’s” Shark willingly walking right back into harm’s way.

Perhaps the film’s finest sequence involves Arne tracking down and speaking with his estranged father, a Rod Stewart impersonator (don’t ask). His father tells him a story to explain his side of the story. He concludes: “Follow your dream.” Arne laughs, long and loud. He exclaims: "Follow your dream?! What a crock of shit!"


Anonymous said...

Oooh I gotta watch this one. I have never done curling but I always watch people in our annual curling outing here in my office. Apparently the curling club where we go has been there for over a hundred years!

Ahah, a less manic Jack Black, I actually thought it was him at first.

Nick Prigge said...

You have an annual curling outing at your office????? I'll be honest, I am not the biggest fan of office outings but if I could go curling......different story.

I've never tried but I really want to. The only places do it around here are way out in the 'burbs. You live in a curling hotbed, though! At least, for America.