'Børning': Film Review

Courtesy of Fantasia Film Festival
A lighthearted race flick with good muscle car action.

A "Cannonball Run" up the length of Norway.

An opening title dedicating Børning to the late Hal Needham makes it clear that this gas-guzzling import is less Fast and Furious than Cannonball Run, a race up the length of Norway that never takes itself very seriously and hopes you won't either. Star Anders Baasmo Christiansen may be no Burt Reynolds (in fact, his character's an uncharismatic jerk), but Hallvard Braein's pic is high-speed fun nonetheless. Its Stateside audience, of course, is limited to vicarious gearheads who don't mind reading subtitles.

Christiansen is Roy, a divorced garage owner who is none too happy when his ex drops off their daughter Nina (Ida Husøy) and reminds him he agreed to take her for two weeks. Roy's sufficiently sulky to the eager girl (he won't even hug or kiss her in greeting) that, after making several attempts to engage him, she sabotages his vintage Mustang before a street race, leaving him humiliated.

As he's being taunted by a cartoonishly competitive Toyota-driver named TT (Trond Halbo), an offhanded rematch challenge escalates into an epic road rally. These two and a slew of their peers (most of them in vintage American cars that cement the outsider status of TT's Japanese "plastic rocket") will race from Southern Norway to the North Cape, a distance of over 2000 kilometers.

The cast of characters (including Norwegian vet thesp Sven Nordin and comedian Otto Jespersen) is nothing like the motley bunch in Cannonball, and Braein's Nordic restraint extends to the action-comedy as well. Yes, these cars make physics-defying leaps onto moving platforms and their drivers ingeniously evade road blocks, but when they do, highway patrolman don't turn into stammering, red-faced fools. In fact, the lead lawman turns out to be a modest highlight of the film: Played by Henrik Mestad, he's a dedicated pro whose ears are listening for far-off speeding engines even on a fly-fishing vacation. That cop is more sympathetic than Roy is for much of the film. When the time comes for Roy's inevitable rehabilitation as a dad and human, though, screenwriter Linn-Jeanethe Kyed makes sure it's appropriate to the tale.

Race action is more effective than it needs to be in a film like this, though Braein stops short of engine porn. Other tech elements fire on all cylinders.

Production company: Filmkameratene A/S
Cast: Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Ida Husøy, Sven Nordin, Jenny Skavlan, Otto Jespersen, Henrik Mestad, Trond Halbo
Director: Hallvard Braein
Screenwriter: Linn-Jeanethe Kyed
Producers: Sveinung Golimo, John M. Jacobsen
Director of photography: Askild Edvardsen
Costume designer: Anne Isene
Editor: Per-Erik Eriksen
Music: Magnus Beite
Casting director: Ragnhild Lund

No rating, 88 minutes

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