Tuesday, July 12, 2011

893. Kjaerlighetens kjotere/Zero Kelvin (1995)

Running Time: 118 minutes
Directed By: Hans Petter Moland
Written By: Lars Bill Lundholm, Hans Petter Moland, from the novel Larsen by Peter Tutein
Main Cast: Gard B. Eidsvold, Stellan Skarsgard, Bjorn Sundquist, Camilla Martens


Sandwiched between "Heat" and "Clueless", in the pages of the "1001" book, is a movie, that prior to last night, I had never heard of or ever wanted to see. Once again the journey of trekking through the pages of THE BOOK proves meaningful, as I stumble across a fantastic film that I wouldn't have seen otherwise.

Henrik Larsen (Eidsvold) is an author of mostly poetry who is leaving his beloved Gertrude (Martens) in Norway and heading to Greenland to join a fur trapping expedition. Upon his arrival in Greenland he meets the two men that he'll spend the foreseeable future with, Randbaek (Skarsgard) and Holm (Sundquist), a sailor and a scientist, respectively. Larsen is the goody two-shoes type, who will pull a letter from Gertrude from his coat pocket and read it when he's feeling homesick. Holm is the quiet type, who reads his newspapers a year behind the rest of the world and Randbaek is the tough, rugged type who doesn't like Larsen. Well, in fact, he may like him, but he has a good time giving him a hard time. Every time Larsen seems to be plucking a bit of joy out of life, Randbaek makes it his top priority to crush his happiness, telling him that his beloved is probably cheating on him while he's away, forcing him to whip the sled dogs that he's grown attached to and constantly berating him. Holm, despite his quietness, acts as mediator between the two, but when Holm gets tired of their quibbling and decides to leave the job, Larsen and Randbaek must learn to live together, alone.


As I was just reading the "1001" book's passage on "Zero Kelvin", it made a connection between this film and Roman Polanski, stating that this movie had the "crisp economy of a tough, knotty thriller by Roman Polanski". In fact, it does remind me of my favorite Polanski film, "Knife in the Water", where it really sets in those themes of human nature (the darker side of human nature), isolation and loneliness. I was expecting nothing from "Zero Kelvin" and only watched it because it became streaming on Netflix and was otherwise an unavailable movie. By the sounds of the synopsis, it sounded a lot like a very innocent film - "young poet leaves home to join a fur trapping expedition", does not sound like a good time at the movies. Yet another example of never judging a book by it's cover.

The only things that I didn't like about "Zero Kelvin" were the ending, which seemed like a desperate attempt to get out of the icy surrounding and end on a civilized note. I would have much preferred the film ending out on the icy terrain, with Larsen having just killed Randbaek and realizing that he is a lot like him. The other thing was more something I didn't understand, than something I didn't like, but they never really establish why Larsen went to Greenland. Early on in the film, while on the expedition, Larsen mentions something about writing a book, so maybe that's why. But it's never brought up again and you'd think if he were there to write a book about the experience, he'd keep mentioning it. I don't know...nothing major, just something.

"Zero Kelvin" is a fantastic film. It will literally make you feel cold and isolated for the duration of it and if you're like me, it won't take you long to get wrapped around the characters and the situations. Warning - this is not a movie for animal lovers!

RATING: 8/10 It's movies like this that make me realize why I started this project, as I would have NEVER seen this otherwise.


July 12, 2011 12:19pm


  1. Ooooh, I so want to see this one, but one of those 'region 1 only'films I will not get to see...

  2. I just watched it, really good, and agree with your review 100%.


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