Review: Paperboy (2019)

Sometimes, a simple, warm, humane hug is all someone needs. Ninna Pálmadóttir’s Paperboy ends with one such hug and it is enough of a payoff for a generally somber mood the film is set in.

The boy (Trausti Hrafn Thorsteinsson) runs his newspaper delivery route somewhere in rural Iceland. He is inquisitive enough to occasionally peek through a paper hole of the door, but it is far from enough to break the monotony. Once he hears the argument, possibly a fight, between a young woman and presumably an older man through a basement window of a house on his route, he becomes intrigued by her. He soon finds out that goes swimming in an open pool he takes his swimming lessons at and uses the phenomenon of ice bath as a proverbial ice-breaker. He wants to help her (Salomé R. Gunnarsdóttir), but is not sure if he is able to…

The camerawork by the DOP Lasse Ulvedal Tolboll suits the dark mood and the laconic nature of film well. The static and measured steady-cam shots in naturally greyish colours are arranged in a deliberately moderate, almost meditative pace by the film’s director Ninna Pálmadóttir, who also serves as the editor, while the shallow focus keeps the viewers concentrated on the characters, their faces, expressions and moods. Paperboy is an exceptionally heart-warming emotional experience and a very good film that seems tailor-made for short film festivals.

Original title: Blathberrin
Country: Iceland
Language: Icelandic
Runtime: 10′ 24”
Directed by: Ninna Pálmadóttir
Written by: Ninna Pálmadóttir
Cast: Trausti Hrafn Thorsteinsson, Salomé R. Gunnarsdóttir
Produced by: Kathleen Chew, Ninna Pálmadóttir, Thórunn Guthlaugsdóttir
Executive producers: Búi Baldvinsson, Bjarni Vitharson
Cinematography by: Lasse Ulvedal Tolboll
Music by: Pétur Ben
Edited by: Ninna Pálmadóttir
Assistant directors: Thórunn Guthlaugsdóttir, Eyjólfur Ásberg Ámundason
Costume design: Arndís Ey
Sound design: Gunnar Árnason
Production company: Hero Productions Icelandic