“Rift” has an ending that will leave you breathless


Icelandic darling of the Goteburg (Sweden) Film Festival, Breaking Glass Pictures has just released “Rift” (Rökkur) on DVD and Video on Demand for enjoyment in your home. The film is written and directed by Erlingur Thoroddsen, who is gaining fame for his dark thrillers. Iceland’s finest are in the cast and crew and early on, you’ll know why this film has so much buzz.

Gunnar (Björn Stefánsson) gets a midnight call from his ex-boyfriend, Einar (Sigurður Þór Óskarsson) and hastens out to the cabin at the shore (rather than the trite cabin in the woods we know so well). Set in the sere Icelandic interior, the looming glacier follows wherever the residents go, like the eyes of an oil painting.

Gunnar has some strange experiences… passing a car in the night on the side of the road, a red SUV that stands out like a torch next to the winter landscape and lava rocks. He gets to Einar’s cabin, and the front door won’t stay closed. Gunnar makes himself at home to help Einar figure out what’s what. And then even stranger things start to happen. Like the return of the red SUV that Gunnar sees again when looking for Einar at an abandoned village.

About halfway through, you start to make connections—why is Einar acting so strangely? Why did he go to such a remote place to get his act together? Who is the little boy that Gunnar sees in the lava field? Where does the strange farmer Grétar (Guðmundur Ólafsson) come from?

This film is a nifty thrifty tale—no extraneous anything, a triumph of sere design with an ending that will leave you breathless, you may find yourself looking over your shoulder at least twice before it’s done.