55th BFI London Film Festival 2011 – Review: Curling King (2011)

Truls Paulsen was a fanatical middle-aged curling champion but he’s been diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and banned from the sport. When he learns that his old friend and coach Gordon is on his deathbed and in vital need of an expensive operation, the once razor-sharp but now heavily-medicated Truls decides to reform his curling team and compete again, in the hope of winning the national championship prize-money for Gordon. Director Ole Endresen puts a bizarre spin on a classic comic premise to produce a pastel-bright comedy that delivers laughs in spades. Truls and his friends are unashamedly uncool, far from beautiful and afford plenty of visual gags, including a hilarious dance-off to MC Hammer’s ‘U Can’t Touch This’. With nods to the deadpan humour and absurdity of Bent Hamer and Roy Andersson’s comedies, Endresen creates a unique knockabout story with a host of amusing observations on middle age, sports obsessives and growing old disgracefully.

So, the 2011 BFI London Film Festival is practically kicked off. I started the first lot of films at the press screening inside the BFI Southbank. Now I’m just going to keep this rather short and sweet.

Curling King (the English name) was a film I didn’t know anything about, I knew it was foreign but that was it. I was expecting some heavy drama or horror/thriller film but that wasn’t the case. Instead, what I got was one of the biggest film surprises I’ve seen!

Curling King is essentially a sport comedy based around the sport of Curling. Now that doesn’t sound particularly interesting but when you think about it, a sport like this is perfect! The best way I can describe the style of it is that of French film MicMacs. Curling King is flat out bonkers but incredibly funny, I think I got more out of it than I did from The Hangover: Part II. Each character are as quirky and eccentric as the next, sometimes it had shades of Big Lebowski and Dodgeball in it (especially some of the characters on the opposing team).

I thoroughly enjoyed this Norwegian comedy and hope it does get a wider release, or at least the opportunity to the DVD when its out.

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