As I’ve mentioned at least twice now, we saw Trollhunter last Thursday at the Tribeca Film Festival. We had been talking about seeing something, although we hadn’t decided what or when, and, since we had the time (and inclination) on Thursday, we scanned that evening’s options. The above image immediately caught our eye. That was clearly our movie.
Because we hadn’t purchased tickets in advance, we had to queue up forty-five minutes prior to the start of the movie for a chance to purchase rush tickets. I am not at my best when in lines (although I’m constantly striving to be more zen about them), and standing for forty-five minutes in the drizzling rain in what seemed like a hopeless line was not a very enjoyable experience – particularly when a group of shrieking, self-amused college students queued up next to us for another movie. We stuck with it, though, and the line started moving … and then the line attendant stopped me. “One more,” she said. “Are you alone?” I told her there were two of us, and she motioned for a single behind us to come forward.
I was so sad. We had been so close! But, as it turned out, that wasn’t the end. The attendant came back and collected us and someone else, and we were shown into the theater to purchase tickets.
The film itself was incredibly fun. It was in Norwegian (with English subtitles), and presented in documentary-style. The story centered around a group of (either journalism or film) students who were filming a story on a suspected bear poacher. They follow him into the woods at night, only to have him run towards them, screaming, “Troll!” They follow him out and find their vehicle destroyed, with the wheels gnawed off, and things only get weirder from there.
He reveals to them that he works for the government helping to contain the trolls that populate Norway. He agrees to let them film him as he tries to identify why the trolls are suddenly escaping from their regions, and he shares with them all sorts of information about the trolls. (For instance, trolls cannot convert Vitamin D, and, when exposed to bright sunlight, they were either explode or turn to stone.)
The film is at times humorous in a completely absurd manner and at times frightening. (I watched the cave scene through my fingers.) You know from the framing device (this being “found footage”) that everything will most likely not be sunshine and puppies in the end, but you still can’t help being more fascinated than scared of the trolls. The trolls, after all, aren’t evil; they’re just wild animals.
The director, André Øvredal, held a question and answer session after the film ended. One of the most interesting things he mentioned was that they drove across Norway without any set locations in mind; when they came across somewhere that they thought would make a good backdrop, they just stopped and used it. Indeed, the Norwegian landscapes were stunning. Once home, I found myself googling more images of Norway and dreaming about exploring there.
After the credits have run, the screen claims, “No trolls were harmed during the making of this movie.” It’s the perfect ending, as the film asks you to suspend your disbelief in trolls to fully appreciate the documentary-style experience, while at the same time realizing the absurdity of the escapade.
Watch the trailer: