Fantastic Fest 2010: Capone walks on down the hall for the Swedish thriller CORRIDOR!!!
Published at: Sept. 24, 2010, 4:49 a.m. CST by Capone
Hey everyone. Capone in Austin here.
Sometimes you plan your festival schedule and stick to it no matter what, and sometimes you find yourself with a gap in you schedule and just pick a movie at random. On my first day at Fantastic Fest 2010, I dropped on a seemingly harmless, 80-minute film from Sweden called CORRIDOR, from directors Johan Lundborg and Johan Storm, and it turned out to be the best movie I saw all day by several lengths. It's the kind of film that not only keeps you thinking about the plot long after the film is done, but it expanded my mind about human nature and the very stupid things we do when we're terrified and paranoid, both for good reasons.
Young Frank (Emil Johnsen) is a medical student who is so focused on his studies that he doesn't tolerate anything that diverts him off his chosen track. In other words, he's kind of an asshole, but not a bad guy who sets out to hurt people; he just never attempt to helps them either. But one day, despite his best efforts, he meets a new neighbor in the stairwell of his apartment building movie an slightly oversized table up the stairs. She asks for help, he says 'No,' she crosses the line into begging. Her name is Lotte (Ylva Gallon), a cute Bjork-like creature who makes several attempt to insert herself into Frank's ultra-structured life. And the implication is that the two might turn this acquaintance into something more intimate. But the first of many curve balls the filmmakers have for us is that Lotte has a boyfriend in the form of an older, nasty biker dude named Micke (Peter Stormare, in full tough-guy mode). Frank can hear them having sex every night, but he can also hear them fighting, sometimes physically. When another man (probably an ex-lover) runs into Lotte outside her building, Micke gets pissed and doesn't care if he leaves bruises.
Frank and Lotte do begin to form a friendship, and one day when Micke comes over in a particularly awful rage, Frank believes he hears through the ceiling (Lotte lives directly above him) Frank doing something especially awful to Lotte. Much of CORRIDOR is spent watching Frank peering through things, whether he's opening his door a crack to look down his hall, or if he's craning his neck to see around the bend of the building's spiral staircase, or if he's looking through mail slots or peep holes. One way or another only portions of Frank's face spend a great deal of time being a snoop. The police are useless, since there's no evidence a crime has been committed, and they view the sleep-deprived, frazzled med student as someone whose senses maybe aren't what they should be.
The plot is entirely driven by decisions Frank makes based on what he thinks is happening to his neighbor, and quite frankly I'm not saying he's wrong or that I would have drawn different conclusions. But CORRIDOR loves to remind us that the road to good intentions is sometimes paved with some truly horrible shit. And the more Frank attempts to help, the worse the threat against him seems to get. Johnsen is remarkable as the frail, often cowardly jerk who clearly wants to do something heroic without getting his ass kicked or worse. In so many ways, he's the antihero most of us would probably be in this situation, and the film surrounds him was some seriously tense situations to compound the thrill level of the movie. I have a really difficult time believing a film like this won't find a U.S. distributor, so please keep an eye out for it somewhere near you. Keep and eye out.
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