Starring Otto Jespersen,
Glenn Erland Tosterud,
Johanna Morck (NOTE: The "o" takes a "/" through it on the last name)
Tomas Alf Larsen,
Hans Morten Hansen
Written and directed by Andre Ovredal (See above NOTE)
Runtime 103 mins.
It’s a foreign film and five years old, but deserves big recognition. Because, as the trailer flatly states, THE MOST IMPORTANT FILM OF OUR TIME IS NORWEGIAN.
Thomas (Tosterud), Johanna (Morck), and Kalle (Larsen), three students at Volda University, film their pursuit of a suspected bear poacher. Though they’re right that he’s a hunter, they’re wrong that he’s hunting bear.
Hans (Jespersen) works for TSS—the Troll Security Service. A taciturn man, Hans initially tells the students to get lost. Undaunted—“Do you think Michael Moore gave up after the first try?”—the dogged documentarians follow their man, confronting him in a trailer park, on a ferry boat, anywhere they can. Until, creeping after him in a moonlit forest, they find what Hans really hunts…
The premise isn’t necessarily this film’s big draw so much as it is the casting and the low-key Norse humor. (Pun on “Loki” emphatically intended.) Viewers expecting traditionally made movies with precisely introduced characters exhibiting standard arcs might not get the wry, dry humor Troll Hunter offers.
The special effects serve the story, refreshingly enough. And the story doesn’t play like a regular movie. It’s fast-paced and thoroughly engaging, tongue-in-cheek yet very straight-faced. Nobody seems like an actor. As Hans, the troll hunter, Otto Jespersen provides such a perfectly authentic presence, you can’t imagine anybody else in the role.
The same must be said for Glenn Erland Tosterud as Thomas, the guy in front of the camera, and Johanna Morck, the gal trotting around holding the microphone. These two in particular seem so genuine and non-actorly, the charm exuded pretty well defies description. Johanna’s facial contortions behind Hans’s back signifying her reaction to his seeming weird when he almost decides not to take the students along with him on his mysterious hunting journey exemplify the priceless moments abounding in Troll Hunter.
Hans, deadly serious, on the three-headedness of some species of troll: “The other heads aren’t really heads. They’re more of a protuberance. Their function is to scare other trolls. Or impress the females.”
He says this over breakfast filling out a troll kill form. Paperwork.
Did you know that strong light really does kill trolls? Did you know that trolls actually can scent out the blood of a Christian man? Dumping some Christian man’s blood on a bridge is a main way of drawing a troll in for the killing.
As the filmmakers suggest, Troll Hunter will change your concept of society. If not, you’ll at least get some idea concerning the flatulence of trolls when sleeping in caves.
In the war on trolls, green night vision cameras come in handy. Green night vision makes things look real. Driving around the fjords, Hans calmly points out that what people usually mistake to be telephone lines are actually electrified troll fences.
And then there are the times, in the harsh icy realm, when Hans recounts his missions. Killing whole troll familes. Even pregnant females. There’s no heroism here, Hans says, deep in the thousand-yard stare. Because. Troll-killing is a dirty business.
Stewart Kirby writes for