(director/writer: Fridrik Thor Fridriksson; screenwriter: Jim Stark; cinematographer: Fridrik Thor Fridriksson; editor: Steingrímur Karlsson; music: Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson; cast:  Nagase Masatoshi (Atsushi Hirata), Seijun Suzuki (grandfather), Gisli Haldorsson (Siggi), Fisher Stevens (Jack), Lili Taylor (Jill), Laura Hughes (Laura); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: imStark; Icicle Films; 1995-USA/Japan/Iceland/Denmark/Germany-in English with Japanese, Icelandic and German subtitles)

“Finely tuned English speaking comical road movie set in Iceland.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Iceland’s most well known director Fridrik Thor Fridriksson (“Horizon”/”Falcons”) writes (with Jim Stark) and directs with aplomb this finely tuned English speaking comical road movie set in Iceland. It depicts the journey through Iceland of the stoic Tokyo fish-company salaryman Atsushi Hirata (Nagase Masatoshi), who chooses to go there instead of going on his annual winter golfing vacation in Hawaii.. He sees ghosts of his parents on TV and listens to the advice of his Shinto priest grandfather (Seijun Suzuki, cult director) to travel to Iceland to perform authentic funeral rites at a remote river by the Arctic Circle for his geologist parents, who died there some seven years ago. In Iceland, en route to his destination, he buys a rundown rusted Citroen from a mystery girl (Laura Hughes), who says she spiritually relates to him. On the deserted highway he meets all sorts of characters as hitch-hikers. These include the kind local (Gish (Halldórsson), the mystery girl who sold him the car who poses as a “funeral collector”and, also,  the dangerous bickering American tourist armed-robbery couple (Fisher Stevens & Lili Taylor) who communicate with socks on their hands as if puppeteers.

The quirky film, a small one with an international flavor and some notions of seriousness, is a likable adventure tale about a personal spiritual quest, that features the beautiful but harsh snowy Icelandic vistas and a bunch of eccentric characters. It’s a well-conceived film that amuses you without necessarily reaching any further depths.

REVIEWED ON 5/29/2018       GRADE: B

Cold Fever (1995) poster