Writer: Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson, Huldar Breiðfjörð (Screenplay)
Starring: Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson, Edda Björgvinsdóttir, Sigurður Sigurjónsson,
Þorsteinn Bachmann, Selma Björnsdóttir
Plot: When Baldwin and Inga’s next door neighbours complain that a tree in their backyard casts a shadow over their sundeck, what starts off as a typical spat between neighbours in the suburbs unexpectedly and violently spirals out of control.
Tagline – Two Families. One Tree. A Bloody Mess.
Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Quirky Dark Comedy
Story: Under the Tree starts when Atli gets kicked out by his wife for watching porn, which happens to star him and a woman they know, he is forced to move back into his parents Inga and Baldvin who have their own problems, being in a bitter battle with the neighbours Konrad and Eybjorg about an overhanging tree.
As the battle between the family’s starts getting more personal, the mystery about Inga’s missing son starts to come to the forefront, while Atli is doing everything he can to put his life back together, without getting any success along the way.
Thoughts on Under the Tree
Characters – Atli is caught by his wife watching an old sex tap of himself with another woman, he kicked out and spends the time trying to put his life back together, trying to make sure he gets time with his daughter, with his wife not willing to give him any time of day, he will cross the lines, though he is doing this in an act of desperation. Inga has taken the rivalry with the neighbours much more personally than her husband, she gets into a battle which will see her do things she shouldn’t even consider, while deep dpwn she is dealing with grief about the loss of her own son. Baldvin is the long suffering husband that is willing to talk out the problems with the neighbours, but is caught up needing to support his wife, even turning on her with her actions. Konrad and Eybjorg are the neighbours that have simply asked for one thing and end up being the victims of all of Inga’s hate despite doing what they can to remain calm.
Performances – The performances in this film are wonderful, you do understand each characters mindset, why they are acting up the way they are, leading to the decisions which will only end up making their lives more difficult.
Story – The story follows the lives of one family, the son who is trying tos save his marriage and his parents that get caught up in the middle of a battle over the position of a tree in the garden, which gets personal quickly. This does give us a story that is dealing with marriage troubles, where people get to a stage where they will make silly decisions, which could cost them everything, which does reflect just how petty the actions of the parent characters are, when it comes to the actions when arguing about a tree. We do go to a couple of very dark places in how everything unfolds, which is what makes this such a brutally honest way of seeing how people can make more out of nothing important.
Comedy/Mystery – The comedy in this film is very dark throughout, it shows the extremes that a bitter rivalry between neighbours can get, when things get out of hand. The mystery involved in the film does focus mostly on a missing cat, which is why the battle becomes more personal.
Settings – The film keeps the settings simple, we see the neighbours going at it, trying to stay ahead of each other, keeping most of the action between the houses, with only Atli story stepping away from here.
Scene of the Movie – The Tree changes everything.
That Moment That Annoyed Me – Inga is a truly horrible person.
Final Thoughts – This is one of the darkest comedies you will see, it has a simple idea which focuses on neighbourly rivalry and how things can get out of hand so easily.
Overall: Dark comedy delight.
Small disclaimer, I haven’t used the actors names because I don’t have the correct way to spell them available on my computer.