This charming subtitled, Icelandic-set film could also be called Two Men and a Road Marking Machine but Either Way or Á annan veg are clearly much catchier as far as titles are concerned. Written and directed by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson, this film proves yet again, if it needed proving, that you don’t need a cast of hundreds or a super-high budget to hit exactly the right note.
Sometime in the 1980s, Finnbogi (Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson) and Alfred (Hilmar Guðjónsson) are working together out in the middle of nowhere with an awkward connection: Finnbogi is in a relationship with Alfred’s sister and it seems that is the only reason he tolerates the younger man. Finnbogi cannot believe that Alfred is still unable to tie a knot or gut a fish at the grand old age of 24. Alfred thinks as little of the slightly older Finnbogi.
Finnbogi is out in the Icelandic wilderness because he thinks the distance from his relationship and some physical work will do his state of mind some good. Alfred resents every moment he must stay away from the big city and his next sexual conquest, so thinks Finnbogi is mad for wanting to be out there in the windswept wilds. Tensions between them come to a head when Finnbogi gets a letter from his girlfriend and Alfred comes back from an unfulfilling weekend in the city with a fetching Flock of Seagulls tribute hairdo and a really big shiner.
The moment when Finnbogi and Alfred understand each other for the very first time is lovely and makes you feel like everything is right with the world. Sniff.
It doesn’t sound like a film with big potential for humour but there is plenty of it to be found; there are constant amusingly disdainful exchanges between the two men provoking an ungainly snort or full-blown laugh.
This cast of two, assisted by some stunning cinematography, a jovial moonshine-brewing lorry driver and a weirdly out of place but somehow complimentary 80s electronica soundtrack, manage to provide an extremely entertaining 80 minutes of conflict and bonding. This will be a hard one for the recently announced Hollywood remake to top.
Maryann has awarded Either Way four Torches of Truth