Cannes 2011: VOLCANO REVIEW
After getting accosted by his children for being a complete ass hat to Anna he's finally able to crack through the crust of his heart and show his true feeling for his wife. But those happy times are short lived when Anna suffers a massive stroke and has to be hospitalized. Fearing both isolation from his kin and believing this to be a test to show that he can show affection to the ones he loves he decides to take care of Anna in their home much to the annoyance of his children.
Director Rúnar Rúnarsson has shown with his previous short films, the Oscar nominated The Last Farm, the multi awarded 2 Birds and his thesis short film Anna that he can tackle dire situations and human behavior with ease. Volcano takes its time telling the story, composes its frames beautifully and while the subject matter might turn many people away those who brave it will be mesmerized by its simple and effective storytelling.
The film relies on the performance of its lead and fortunately Rúnar chose the right man for the job. Theodor (Jar City) Júlíusson portrays Hannes as a frightened and pathetic bully at first that transforms in to desperation. Margrét Helga Jóhannsdóttir as the meek Anna is also terrific and has the difficult task of portraying a bed ridden stroke victim for most of the running time. This is a film that doesn't romanticize this illness even though the act of Hannes is romatic in itself. This film shows us the unpleasant side of this illness, adult diapers and all.
If I were to compare this film to anything I might call it a Terrence Malick lite, a slow burn with powerful scenes that keeps your attention through its seemingly long running time.
Volcano gathered some great reviews after its Cannes premier so look for it at festivals.