Greetings again from the darkness. Extra credit goes to the writer/director team of Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz for their indie spirit and unique character-driven adventure – a rare Iceland based comedy. The former Film School classmates bring color of personality and color of terrain to the forefront.
Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson) and Colin (Paul Eenhoorn) are former brothers-in-law, once married to sisters. The polar opposites are each battling loneliness and aging, and Mitch (the gregarious one) basically forces Colin (the reserved one) into a spontaneous vacation with him to Iceland. After this, we watch what amounts to a an AARP Road Trip Buddy film.
Mitch’s bravura masks his loss of purpose and fear of mortality, while Colin mostly just shakes his head at each vulgar thought spoken without filter by Mitch. Despite the obvious differences in personality, the two come across as real guys soaking up the adventure. While Colin enjoys his solo hike that ends with a dip in the hot springs, Mitch sips his scotch while pestering a honeymooning couple (one of which is played by well known cinematographer Ben Kasulke) with questions about their private time in the room. He means no harm, he just thrives on fun … whether it’s his or someone else’s.
Mitch and Colin have a definite on screen connection, and what makes this fascinating is that while Paul Eenhoorn is an established Australian actor, Earl Lynn Nelson is a real life retired surgeon who has only recently begun acting. Mr. Nelson’s comfort in front of the camera is obvious whether he is telling his much younger cousin she has a “hot ass”, or toking on weed at the hotel. Many long time actors would have struggled in this role, but Nelson … while not always likable, leaves no doubt about his quest for fun.
Other than the two lead actors, the landscape of Iceland is a key to the look and feel of the film. The panoramas are beautifully filmed, and if somehow a few people actually see the film, it would not be surprising if Iceland tourism spikes. Though the film offers no real life lessons, and offers little in defense of “getting old sucks”, this little senior citizen character study is a worthy entry into the “gray cinema” genre, and a reminder that every morning we wake up … we are “not dead yet”!
watch the trailer: