Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thale (2012)

I have to wonder how many movies there are out there that I’ll never come across.  It’s hard enough distinguishing yourself from the countless scripts that never even make it into production, let alone find any sort of release.  With all manner of movies being released, there are so many that I will hear about and get around to watching.  This is why I tend to review a lot of foreign and independent movies.  Maybe I’ll be able to introduce someone to an enjoyable movie that the might not otherwise have come across.  Thale is a movie I came across while looking at movies on Netflix.  I’m not sure if I came across it while browsing titles they have streaming or if it was recommended to me after watching another movie.

The movie is about two guys that clean up crime scenes for a living.  Well, actually, Leo is the professional.  He invites Elvis along to help when his partner needs to take some time off.  This is most evident when we see the two of them working.  Leo is obviously desensitized to it while Elvis spends much of the beginning of the movie vomiting.  (Elvis would probably rather be doing something else, but he’s short on cash.)

This changes one day when they find a woman at one of their job sites.  Elvis wanders into the basement and comes across her in a bath of a milky liquid.    Leo calls it in, but backup won’t arrive for a while.  This leaves the two of them to watch her.  You wouldn’t think this is so hard except that she’s mute.  And they make some unusual discoveries, like audio recordings of a man, presumably the deceased, who was also presumably caring for the woman, named Thale.

It’s not explicitly clear how she came to be in his care or what their situation was.  We don’t get to hear much of the tapes, but Thale is a touch telepath and is able to impart some images to Elvis.  We also have a group of people hunting Thale and others like her.  IMDb lists the leader as Hvittkledd, which translates as White Dressed.  Mr. White is apparently able to track her using biometrics.  He is very interested in taking her with him.  She’s a huldra, but not like the others that the movie shows.  Others of her kind are also apparently in the vicinity, although they don’t appear to be that aggressive towards Elvis and Leo.

The movie reminds me of Timecrimes in that there aren’t many characters and the story is easy to follow.  I’m glad I was able to get this streaming.  It’s a short movie at only 76 minutes, but I think the simplicity worked for the movie.  There were very few parts that dragged and I think the movie would have suffered if it had been stretched out.  It was also not like many other movies that I’ve seen.  This might be because I’m accustomed to American movies.  This may be typical of Norwegian movies.  (Yes, the movie is subtitled.)

In that regard, I’m not sure how much is lost in translation.  I’m not sure that there’s an analog for the creature in American folklore.  Also, the movie listed on Netflix as a horror film, but it’s not really what I’d call horror.  I’m sure if I watched the movie with someone familiar with the background, they could point stuff out that would have gone right over my head.

I could see this movie being hit and miss with a lot of people.  I might have viewed it differently if I had watched it another day.  It’s not a particularly suspenseful or action-packed movie.  It is, however, only 77 minutes.  The movie is able to tell a story in a short amount of time.  With a little tweaking, we could have a viable pilot for a TV series.  IMDb has Thale 2 listed as in production, so the story does go on.  I’d be interested to see what happens next.

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