Woman at War
Echoing Us’ theme of twins, but with kinder goals in mind, Benedikt Erlingsson’s Woman at War features the impressive Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir in dual roles as Icelandic eco-warrior Halla and her yogi sister, Ása.
Bent on toppling her country’s aluminum industry, which she views as contributing to global warming, Halla memorably introduces herself by bravely knocking out the local power grid and scampering to safety through the picturesque Highlands with authorities in helicopters thrillingly in pursuit.
These and many of Halla’s other activities are made all the more intriguing by a quirky internal soundtrack, as both a presumably invisible polka trio and three women vocalists in traditional folk garb separately accompany her to urban and rural locations. Working in tandem with Geirharðsdóttir’s stoic face as Halla plots her next move and navigates the risks and rewards of her covert illegal actions, the unusual pairings convey Halla’s emotions better than any expository dialogue could.
That she sometimes acknowledges her musical co-conspirators only adds to the fun and unpredictability of the zippy proceedings, which receive dramatic fortification through Halla’s long-delayed realization of becoming a parent as well as unexpected help from family members.
Though there’s not a familiar face to be found — unless viewers subscribe to Iceland television channels — the sympathy for Halla’s motivations, the film’s natural beauty and its mildly eccentric accents combine to yield an adventure worth rooting for, enacted by someone audiences would be proud to call a sister, friend or mother.
Grade: B-plus. Not rated, but with adult themes, language, and nudity. Starts March 29 at the Fine Arts Theatre
(Photo: Magnolia Pictures)