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The Sea

Gunnar Eyjólfsson , Hilmir Snær Guðnason , Baltasar Kormákur    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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The Sea + White Night Wedding [Import]
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars SEA for Yourself! May 7 2004
Believe it or not, the kind folks at Sundance finally got it right in giving high marks to THE SEA!
A great family drama told against the backdrop of the small town psyche, THE SEA tells the story of how one family -- shackled with more inner conflict that Bergman could shake a stick at -- deals with the emotions, the conflicts, and the disappointments of life itself. As the family business falls apart, so do the siblings until we eventually learn that it isn't so much what we leave behind that affects us but rather it's the scars that run deep from questionable moral choices.
However, at the core of the picture is a statement on life in small towns. The regular characters are fleshed out, given real traits (scheming and devious is the one daughter-in-law as well as giddily promiscuous is the one daughter), and allowed to interact with one another in ways that are entirely credible and, at times, downright funny. The back-stabbing nature of the small town mind is underscored almost at every turn (the way everyone is "in your business," whether you want them or not), and the film moves along briskly while stopping every now and then to bring the viewer back to that central underlying current.
Despite being set almost entirely in a small fishing town, the film is shot with a great scope, at times defying the principle message of the claustrophobia that typical goes hand-in-hand with small town mentality. Additionally, the film is populated with some background characters (the local policeman is a great example) who don't play any important role but serve to reinforce that no matter how far you may try to run from yourself, you're always still going to be who you're meant to.
A mildly tragic ending (coupled with a family blow-up about incidents that happened long ago) make THE SEA a complex little drama well worth one sailing.
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If you love dysfunctional holiday films that portray reality, this is it. (the holiday stuff is in the background) If you are sick to death of Smarmy, Gooey "Family" films that make you feel horrible because there's no way your family will ever be like that---this is for you. If your family is really dysfunctional, and you feel totally alone on the holidays, this movie will let you know other people understand.
Everybody shafts each other in the end here..a type of King Lear. I didn't find it really humorous until I thought about it later.
The ugliness of the people's behavior is strongly contrasted against the AMAZING beauty of the landscapes.
The middle-aged dad calls all his kids home around the holidays to have a chat. He's got something to tell. They are licking their chops hoping for an inheritance, money or news that he's selling the family fish processing plant. They think they are going to be RICH! This is the moment they've been waiting for!
(Boy have I seen this before where the kids are handed money all their lives without responsibility and too much trust.)
In fact, one of the sons & his wife are already swindling him, embezzling & trying to sell it out from under him. Another son has for years been taking his father's money for education and been living on it as a musician. Another daughter took the father's money for her education and became a film maker. A self-destructive girl cousin is always hanging around and is obsessively in love with the musician.
All great if you can pay for it, but not one of these adult kids chose a career that is self-supporting. They all think there's more money where that came from.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Sea April 19 2004
This film has great photography and excellent acting; as a story though, it treads familiar (i.e., Bergmanesque) ground. The coming together of a family, the revelations within, the incestuous leanings are nothing new. The characters seem to have been pulled from central casting for Dysfunctional Family Dramas. The runaway son, the daughter with the oafish husband, the son who stayed on, the disenchanted grandchild ... they're all here. The facet of this film that doesn't ring true is the calling together of all the children and then the waiting period before the father tells them why they are there. This is a tired device and most people wouldn't sit and wait while their father gives them annoyingly cryptic answers to their questions. It's time we had a family drama where things are played out a bit more realistically. Obviously that film won't come from Hollywood, so I look to Europe to deliver. Kudos to the great acting, I just wish it had been around a stronger plot.
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This is an independent film which is set in Iceland even though it was filmed in Canada. It's the story of an aging fishing industry tycoon who is being pressured by his family to sell his factory. There are environmental and moral issues here because if he sells to a big corporation, the people in the town will lose their jobs, fish will be caught in tremendous batches and half of them will be wasted. His three grown children, however, want him to sell. The whole family hates each other and there is cruelty and anger in every word they speak. Soon, secrets begin to be unveiled. The conclusion is sad but expected.
The acting is excellent, the directing good and the photography captured the cold and isolation of the place. The whole film is a bit depressing, however, and even though it held my interest throughout, I just couldn't feel sympathy for any of the characters. Film buffs might like it but there are better films around.
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