Two movies that encourage a genre festival audience to cheer whenever someone gets shot in the head.
In Order Of Disappearance: there is a level on which this movie operates as a blackly comedic metaphor for whatever “immigration problem” Norway thinks it has. I can’t parse it fully, but it’s intentional, and intentionally skewering — if you’re easily triggered by ethnic humour in the ”@#$% white people say” mode, the second act may not be for you. Stellan Skarsgård is lampshaded as the model immigrant, being a white, Danish-born small business owner providing an essential community service: he’s a snowplow driver* who seems to be exclusively contracted to clear a section of highway leading from Oslo to the ski resort town where he lives. In other words, the dude you’d never suspect of raising vigilante hell in socialist democratic welfare-state winter wonderland, unlike those Serbian mobsters or Japanese assassins or that one gangster who turned out to be Jewish, who knew.**
Pål Sverre Hagen (last seen as Thor Heyerdahl) plays opposite Skarsgård as the perpetually stressed-out, carrot-juice-chugging, frothingly xenophobic helicopter dad cocaine drug lord — it’s a great comedic villain turn, arguably the glue that holds the movie together. You walk out thinking that you’re likely to see more of this guy, in bigger and more international films.
Gun Woman: neo-exploitation in the Japanese/American bilingual retro homage mode. If you’re easily triggered by violence against women… you’d probably never consider watching anything in this entire class of movies, I guess. XD; (I watch them occasionally at this point, I think, just to remind myself that they exist — that this is a palette one has access to, so to speak.) Accepting the premise, the film has a few things going for it: 1) a magnetic lead actress and a skin-crawling villain, both of whom are naked for much of the running time; 2) an English-language framing story that’s… relatively… well-acted; 3) a truly great soundtrack, complete with Pat Benetar-esque theme song. Actually, if there’s one conclusion to be drawn from the Fantasia trailer reel and the films thus far themselves, it’s that the 80s keyboard/guitar OST is back with a vengeance, in a way it never was during the early-00s electroclash revival. Vaporwave mainstreaming itself via the vector of least resistance, perhaps.
* To a Montrealer, this prompted the question of why he didn’t have organized crime connections to call on in the first place; but maybe they do things differently in scenic Norway (like Fargo but with convenient fjords for body disposal).
** His boyfriend did, presumably.