Hlynur has a problem. He counts masturbating to aerobics videos and topping up other people's parking meters amongst his most pressing pursuits. At the age of 28 or so, he bathes in the kitchen and lives in his mother's house. He deters the agents of employment and monogamy by illustrating at length his lack of sexual and interpersonal ethics. The problem, then? Circumstances, and the people around him, are conspiring to break this comfortably boring mould - most importantly: his mother, who provides for him, and Lola, his latest object of lust, turn out to be rather more concerned with each other than with him. This double blow of domestic insecurity and accidental incest is only added to when Lola announces she is pregnant...
Filmed in and around the bar that director Kormakur (who himself admits to being a heady mixture of slacker-seducer Hlynur and crazy Spanish lesbian Lola) shares with Damon Albarn, who co-wrote the strangely apt electronic soundtrack, this is not a 'life-affirming' film in the accepted sense of, say, "It's A Wonderful Life". It is also far from depressing, however; whilst Hlynur doesn't go through the turnabout typical of less deadpan pieces, it would feel like a betrayal of the character if he did. If he 'chooses life', it's not to make a new start, make an honest woman of some girl, settle down; rather, it's an affirmation that his gently meandering path through Icelandic small town life is - in some sense - enough. And with this kind of scenery it's got to be easier than choosing to stay forever in, say, Bolton.
At any rate, the indefinite conclusion and the appealingly abrasive quirks of character of "101 Rejkjavik" make it all the more endearing; just pray such maladroits stay on the screen and never make it into your house.
8Kate Dornan's Score