Noi Albinoi Gur Kari

BY Kathleen OlmsteadPublished Nov 17, 2016

Noi is an outcast in his small Icelandic town. He lives with his aging grandmother in a sparsely decorated house. His father stops by occasionally with parental advice but spends more time fantasising about becoming the next Elvis Presley. The possibilities for Noi seem nil. He's given up on school, attending only infrequently or sleeping on his desk when he does. He has a system of isolation, ways to separate himself from the few people he encounters each day. There is even a crawlspace beneath the floorboards where he hides to sit and think. Nói Albinói is a carefully measured film with all the fat excised. Languid doesn't describe it; nothing on screen feels excessive — even the silence feels necessary. Noi's moving towards adulthood and discovering his independence doesn't follow the standard American teen angst film scenario. Yes, a beautiful girl comes to town and sparks his consideration of a world beyond his small village but it isn't clichéd. He becomes more talkative but it takes other forces to spring him into action, and we're told several times that Noi is smart but has no direction. Nói Albinói reminds us that it's hard to have direction when there are so few options before you. Clues are laid throughout the film about the climax but they're only noticeable in hindsight. What seems stylistic and quirky the first time around becomes clever and sad the second time, and Nói Albinói tells a familiar story in crisp new way. It's a relief to watch a movie about teens in small towns and not know how it will end. The story could go anywhere — or nowhere — and it feels just about right. (Zik Zak/Essential/The Bureau/M&M)

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