Director: Ruben Östlund

Cast: Maria Lundqvist, Ollie Lijas & Leif Edlund

III (2/5)

By Gheorghe Ruso

Foreign films, particularly non-Anglophonic European ones, get a bad rap among lay movie-goers. They’re perceived as drab, pretentious, and boring. And this stance – not always, but sometimes – can be justified. Such is the case with Involuntary.

It’s a startling revelation, actually: its poster is adorned with significant praise from several credible sources, but after a viewing, every word of acclaim could be some sort of double-speak inside joke. “Super-smart” might mean “too smart”; “contemplative” – “drawn out”.

The movie, a first time venture by Swedish director Ruben Östlund, is composed of several interspersed episodes: a family gathering that starts with the patriarch injuring himself but refusing medical assistance; a lads’ camping trip that goes awry; a teacher witnessing a fellow faculty member beat a student; a bus journey halted by the driver when something is damaged; and finally, two precociously promiscuous teenage girls out on a binge.

As tantalising or exciting as that may sound on paper, nothing really happens. Repercussions are not introduced, conclusions are not reached, or at least, not felt. It might make a decent sociology thesis, sure, but, despite some great acting, is in no way entertaining or thought-provoking. I’m just grateful the thing was only 98 minutes long.

The trailer to Involuntary.

William Foley

William Foley studies Philosophy and Economics. He is deputy editor of Trinity News.