Hello ladies and gentlemen, Muldoon here comin' back at ya from the heart of Fantastic Fest! We at AICN have been barricading ourselves, "Night of the Living Dead" style, all week continuously covering (as if you haven't noticed) "Fantastic", one of the absolute best film fests out there for genre, horror… Who am I kidding, you’ve heard of it. Anyway personally I hate reviews that seem to give a “And then… and then…” type of rundown, so fair warning – the below is NOT that. At any rate I just got out of DAG director Oystein Karlsen’s latest Norwegian film, FUCK UP. The verdict? I was pleasantly surprised.
Jack is pleased with himself. He has just decided to stop screwing anything with a pulse and cut back on his enthusiastic drug use. That same night his best friend Glenn crashes into a moose on the Swedish border doing his last heist. Glenn is found by the police with a hoof buried in his forehead and 3,8 kilos of cocaine in the trunk. Over the next 24 hours, Jack loses his house, his job, his girlfriend leaves him with their daughter and someone tries to kill him. He is now struggling to save the lives of the very few people who love him, including his daughter. And as he is about to find out: when you think you have hit rock bottom, it can always get worse.
Not going to lie, that premise didn’t really do much for me (sounds like your standard country song) and I wasn’t particularly amped to see it, a film that seemed rather depressing. Within ten minutes, all those slightly unenthusiastic thoughts seemed to flutter away almost instantly as the main character “Jack” (played by Jon Oigarden) manages to win you over – despite doing some rather screwed up things… like say sexing up a lady in a shady closet sized room while ignoring phone calls from his family.
Jack and his three childhood friends grew up stealing cars and breaking all the rules and the film picks up with them all in their late 30’s, each at a different stage of going straight. “Glenn”, who’s managed to borrow a hefty amount of change from everyone for one last smuggling job that’s abruptly slammed to a halt when he hits a moose… And that’s where the shit starts to go down hill for Jack.
What you get with FUCK UP is 90 minutes of small time fun. It’s not a comedy, action film, or drama, but all of those wrapped up into one complete package. It has very few locations and very few characters, but they’re all very well defined and incredibly endearing. Jon Oigarden completely kills it. The film rides on how you feel about its main character (go figure) and there’s a million different ways one could have played it, Jon happened to pick what I think to be the best. He’s the epitome of a good guy who does bad things and you truly feel for the man every second he’s on screen. With so many twists and turns and crazy events that pop up in the film, Jon Oigarden is essentially the seat belt that keeps you strapped in. There’s no shortage of “fucked up” things going on in this flick.
The film’s score is all over the place in the best way possible, too. It’s like a mix tape of good stuff that’s continuously jumping from one song to the next.
Would I pay to see this film in theaters? A solid "Yep"! Give it a shot if you get the opportunity – you won’t be disappointed.
- Mike McCutchen