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THALE
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Reviewed by: Ammon Gilbert

Directed by: Aleksander Nordaas

Starring:
Morten Andresen
Erlend Nervold

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A couple of crime scene clean-up guys stumble across a bunker-like basement on their latest assignment, and encounter a strange woman living amongst the cobwebs, expired canned goods, and bathtubs full of milk. What’s her deal? And why is she in the basement? Answers to all that and more are answered… more or less.
Is it good movie?
The one thing that could be said about THALE is that it’s ambitious, especially weighing in the ultra-light budget the filmmakers had to work with to make it. Actually, there are two things: it’s ambitious and it’s unique—there are not a lot of movies out there like this, and definitely not one exactly like this, save for maybe LADY IN THE WATER from director M. Night Shyamalan. Both films feature a fairy tale creature that comes face to face with the real world, and both creatures are beautiful women masked behind a veil of mystery. So if you liked LADY IN THE WATER, you’d probably dig THALE for trying to be just like it, but at a fraction of the cost.

However, if you didn’t like LADY IN THE WATER, then I can’t imagine you’d particulary like THALE all that much. The main guys lack emotional output and offer very little when it comes to the acting department—and yet we’re stuck with both of them for the duration of the movie. It wanted to follow in the footsteps of so many buddy-type films, but the buddies in question weren’t relatable, or likable, or believable. The lead playing the title role of Thale is certainly gorgeous, and she’s naked through the majority of her scenes (a plus!), and for not saying a word and only using her eyes and expressions as any means of stretching her acting chops, she did a fantastic job… and scores better than the 2 male leads. But she’s not give a whole lot to do while locked down in that basement, so even though she’s great, there's not enough of her greatness to go around and really mean anything.

The film is more or less a fantasy film (and not a horror film), and the format is that through the eyes of the scientist who put this chick in captivity throughout her whole life, and I guess that was the way to go about it structure-wise, but having the whole movie essentially being “guys find weird chick in the basement and after hanging out for a few hours, help comes… or do they? The End.” is not really my idea of a full-blown movie, but more like the first 2 acts of a longer movie, just stretched out over the course of a feature film (given, it’s only 75 minutes long, but still...).

I will give THALE props for being unique and creative, and for trying to tell a story we haven’t seen before using creatures that aren’t commonly used in these types of flicks—basically, it gets props for being original. But the execution of that originality wasn't all that great as the two dudes weren't very interesting, and the one-set location of the basement wasn't dynamic enough to make me want to hang out there for the whole movie. The music sets a tone that is lighter and more mysterious than the film actually tries to be, but I won’t fault it too much for that. It was ambitious and original, and for that… if you liked LADY IN THE WATER… you could do worse than checking out THALE.

Video / Audio
Video: 1.77:1 Widescreen Presentation. The widescreen presentation was fine, but looked too crisp and clear for its own good. Blame the High Definition or what have you, but in many scenes it looks cheaply shot, as if from a video camera. Then at other times, it did some really cool camera tricks that made it look like a million bucks… like a real movie and not something your buddies made in the basement.

Audio: DTS 5.1 Surround Sound. The sound is mixed in 5.1 DTS Digital Sound and it sounds glorious. The few jump-scares are really able to shine here, so kudos for to the filmmakers for putting forth the effort there.

The film is presented in its native Norwegian tongue and subtitled in English, or you can take your chances and check out the English dubbed version, which is only recorded in 2.0 Stereo for some silly reason. I checked out the film in its subtitled format and enjoyed what I got, for the most part.

The Extras
Unless you count being able to pick and choose scenes to skip around to, or that there’s the film’s trailer to check out anytime you want, this disc doesn’t have any extra features. It does, however, come with both a Blu-ray and a DVD disco (combo pack style). You know, in case you care.
Last Call
THALE is a unique and ambitious little fantasy flick that may work wonders for some audiences, but I found myself bored more times than not, and didn't care for the lackluster protagonists. Couple all that with the super-weak Blu-ray / DVD package of just the movie with not a single real extra in sight, and THALE becomes a lazy Sunday afternoon rental at best, but you could just as easily skip it all together and move on with your life. You're really not missing much by passing on THALE altogether.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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