Review: Loser (2022)

Stockfish Film Festival
Shortfish Competition

Screenshot from ‘Loser’

There is always something happening in the neighbourhood, but never in his place. A guy in his late twenties (Gabriel Backman Watlersson) is just a witness, and never a participant of parties/ celebrations. Maybe spying up on neighbours with a pair of binoculars isn’t exactly a ticket for an invitation, and even if they may be completely clueless about this young man observing them, there is something generally awkward about him. He is that nerdy guy who opens the door to see who’s passing buy or that granny who grew roots on the balcony not to miss on what’s going on in the neighbourhood. He stands for different types of same disturbing kind of people who crave for social contact and at the same time, break all rules of socialization.

Wes Andersson would be impressed with Nikulás Tuma’s attempt at symmetrical framing in this dialogue-free comedy experiment which is funny up to the point when it tries to be funny through the over-the-top cartoonish elements.

The titular loser is in obvious need of company and he finally gets a chance of coming close to someone by literally committing a crime. There is a case of hit-and-run-with-the-victim (Atli James), which is a hillarious idea that could have been developed into something more than a competition in literal silentology of the non-filmic kind. In one scene which proves as senseless as the lyrics of the 1992 hit ‘Rhythm is a Dancer‘, a young man previously hit by his host’s car and literally kidnapped to keep him company, displays his kazachok dancing skills to the beats of electronic music composed by Elías Geir Óskarsson.

Loser is a strange customer: it is funny, and than it is not, it is arty, and then silly. It seems like Nikulás Tumi Hlynsson didn’t know exactly which way to turn, but all of it wouldn’t be any problem whatsoverer if the humor in the film weren’t that wooden.

The film competed in the Shortfilm section of the Stockfish film festival in Reykjavik, where we watched it.

Original title: Lúser
Country: Iceland
Language: no dialogues
Runtime: 8’31”
Year: 2021
Directed by: Nikulás Tumi Hlynsson
With: Gabriel Backman Watlersson, Atli James
Cinematographer: Nikulás Tuma
Editor: Nikulás Tuma
Music: Elías Geir Óskarsson