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Film Review: “Under the Tree” (2017) ★★★★


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What is the big deal about someone having a big tree in his own backyard? There is always a way to negotiate the matter, have it discussed thoroughly to come to a logical conclusion, don’t you think so? That’s what I would do and so would you. What you or I may think is one thing, but the heroes of Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson’s movie have something else in their mind. Something that no one in the right state of mind would ever want to witness closely or remotely…

The entire mess begins with Agnes throwing Atli out of their home and preventing him from seeing their daughter Ása. It’s all because Atli watched an adult movie where he and his ex-girlfriend Rakel starred in lead roles. When the man returns to his family home, he finds his parents arguing with their neighbor over a tree that casts a shadow over their sundeck. While the man tries to fix his own problem, he is left, helplessly though, to watch how things turn in an unpredictable way over a small thing…

“Under the Tree” is a black comedy you will find difficult to laugh at. Indeed, it has humour and everything to amuse the viewer, however, the concept it touches is the biggest social problem of how we can’t discuss something quietly and patiently without exhibiting power. For instance, when Baldwin and Inga’s (Atli’s parents) cat goes missing, Inga begins her own investigation and accuses their neighbor, Konrad and Eybjorg, of kidnapping it. The confused neighbors insist they have nothing to do with the cat’s disappearance but to no avail, as Inga has made her own mind and begins her quest to avenge, perhaps, the death of her dear pet.

With the situation that Atli is trying to save his marriage and his parents wanting to save their tree from the neighbors, the co-writer and director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson sets an example of how comical the priorities set by two individuals whose imagination is rich enough to jump to conclusions without having any solid proof can be. On top of that, Konrad and Eybjorg’s will also have to be involved…. After all, not every cat and mouse is Tom and Jerry, right?

“Under the Tree” is an excellent satire told through laughter and tears, it just depends on the viewer and his reaction, which will always vary. The last fifteen minutes of the film is quite shocking to digest, but true in the world where things gets solved by people who failed to develop any other skills other than violence. Without giving much away, be sure to catch Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson’s movie in the nearest theater or OnDemand. But before you do that, try to shift your mind from the environment you are right now to the one which occurs in the film. But keep in mind, be ready for what you about to see as a lesson what should not be done when the someone runs out of proper words….

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