FILM REVIEW: RIFT (PHILADELPHIA UNNAMED FILM FESTIVAL)
RIFT (Rökkur) is an Icelandic film that is as stunning and slow moving as the glaciers that surround our two lead characters. Set in an extremely remote and secluded area surrounded by water, glaciers and dotted with mostly abandoned cabins and huts, Einar (Sigurður Þór Óskarsson) has retreated to his parents cabin as he mourns the death of his relationship with Gunnar (Björn Stefánsson).
Though months have passed (and Gunnar has moved on), the death of this relationship is still quite raw for Einar, who has taken to heavy drinking. One night in a drunken stupor he calls Gunnar and leaves him a strange, crytpic message that Gunnar feels is an indicator that Einar is going to hurt himself. Concerned, Gunnar gets up in the middle of the night and drives to the remote cabin. To his surprise, not only is Einar okay, he does not even remember making the call. It’s been a hell of a night and even worse of a drive so Gunnar decides to stay. There is something more going on, but what it is is unclear. It is something dark and mysterious, a nagging sense of something amiss but trying to get to the root of the cause is going to be an exposing examination of the two men and what caused the death of their love.
This film is visually stunning. It’s shot beautifully and even in the most desolate of locations looks like something the Icelandic tourist board should consider using. Story-wise, it’s pretty bare bones, which is the films intent. This is an atmospheric piece and one that is supposed to make the viewer examine what these men fear most and what the death of their relationship has meant to each of them. Their relationship is like a ghost, haunting both of them and playing on their individual lives and personalities post-breakup. I don’t know if there is a saying for it in Icelandic, but in English the adage is “Love, it’s a real motherfucker”.
RIFT is a moody film that is somewhere between the story of haunting and a ghost story. There is no gore or anything traditionally identifiable with horror. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t invoke fear, it just plays more on the fear of something known, like heartache and loss, over something unknown like an elusive killer (though there is an element of that).
While it’s a beautiful film I don’t think it is one I could see myself recommending to horror fans. If you like your films with less blood and more art, then this may be a great film for you to check out.
“RIFT (Rökkur) is an Icelandic film that is as stunning and slow moving as the glaciers that surround our two lead characters”