Run time: 143 mins
Hlynur Palmason’s visually striking epic follows a Danish priest to rural Iceland in the 19th century, where he confronts both a strange new land and his beliefs.
Travelling to his new post in Iceland, Father Lucas (Elliott Crosset Hove) carries his heavy photography equipment and documents the people and places at each step in the gruelling journey. This trek is far more difficult than he expected, as he is lead on horseback across otherworldly, inhospitable terrain to get to the small community where his church is still under construction. Here he finally finds Danish people he can speak to but consumed by dark thoughts, Lucas begins to wonder where he truly belongs.
Moody and brooding, continual moments of wit and artistry make the film remarkably compelling. Writer-director Palmason bares the characters’ souls to encourage thought about big issues in new ways. Performances are introspective, digging into thoughts and feelings. Hove has a sympathetic presence that’s strongly engaging throughout Lucas’ odyssey, including a crisis of faith that is cleverly more rooted in his identity than his beliefs. Packed with strikingly powerful sequences that explore the connections between humans, culture, animals and the landscape, it’s a subtle but tremendously powerful tale.