Reykjavík-Rotterdam (2008) Poster

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Contraband the Original
kosmasp14 September 2012
When I watched the American Contraband movie, I had no idea it was based on this movie, because I hadn't watched it back then. Of course the minute Contraband came out on DVD some clever marketing guy thought of releasing this movie too and label it with the tag "movie Contraband was based on". Since I liked the the other Contraband, I thought I'd give it a try.

And it is more than apparent that Contraband uses most of this movie as a blueprint. This one though, is leaner and faster. A frenetic pace that might leave some people behind. I like it when people can tell you the same thing, but quicker.. In this case though the remake did improve on some points. One of them is the ending. It doesn't make any sense, even if it is meant to be a joke, they should know better than that. The relationships get explored more in the remake, which on the downside make them a bit cheesy of course.

Tough to say what you might like more. I always think it's good to see the original first and then the remake. But that is up to you.
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Gripping and funny
emkarpf8 November 2009
When I looked up this film on IMDb to comment on it, I noticed that there is already talk of a remake with Mark Wahlberg. It doesn't surprise me that major studios would turn to this thriller, which depicts an unusual and interesting milieu and tells its story with great suspense, warmth and humor. Although, as an art historian, I cannot recommend the negligent treatment of a Jackson Pollock painting in this movie. It's kind of sad that the remake means that this Icelandic movie will not get the attention it deserves in other countries. The acting was excellent, the directing impeccable, and the story well-crafted with interesting characters.
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Icelandic action as you've never seen it before
oskarinn-110 October 2008
I'm not going to spoil anything. So I won't go into any details about the story. I hate when people do that.

Here we have an Icelandic thriller that kept you excited right from the beginning to the very end. I absolutely loved the story, it was fresh and original and distinctively better than most Icelandic films that have tried to depict the dark side of Reykjavík (Iceland's capital). Looking back at films made over 10 years ago, such as "Nei er ekkert svar", it's simply astounding to see how far Icelandic film making has come. This really is an A-level action thriller which I found to be more entertaining than most movies in the similar genre I've seen during the past months. I think the director did an excellent job and Baltasar Kormákur should seriously consider acting more alongside directing because he shows and proves it beyond any doubt that he is one of Iceland's greatest actors. Iceland could of course use more actors because you kind of see the same faces over and over again, every time a film is made. However, when a film is as well casted as this one, one forgets that very quickly. All characters had found their way to just the right people. I must give kudos to Baltasar, Lilja, Ingvar, Þröstur, Ólafur, Jörundur, Victor... Jeez, just all of you. Thank you for a superb film.

Highly recommended, see it as soon as possible.
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This one is not only for Icelanders!
alexanderf9 September 2009
I was very impressed with the film Reykjavik-Rotterdam. Just from the moment that I saw the trailer, I knew that I had to see this movie, and I was absolutely right! This movie offers you everything you need; Excitement, laughter, drama, you name it! The actors do a fantastic job, especially Baltasar Kormákur who is better known as a director but proves it in this movie that he is a fantastic actor as well. Ingvar E. Sigurðsson, one of Iceland's most beloved actors, is extremely convincing in his role as Baltasar's "friend" and I must say that I feel like all the actors just do a fantastic job. Most Icelandic movies, such as Baltasar's "Brúðguminn", I feel that are only fun for people from Iceland. However, this movie, Reykjavik-Rotterdam, can amuse everybody, and I can definitely say that it's just as good as many Hollywood thrillers I've seen. Try to find this movie and check it out, you won't be disappointed!
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Reykjavik-Rotterdam is an exciting thriller with comedy
linda-vil6 October 2008
Reykjavik-Rotterdam is not only a thriller, but also a family story. Although the beginning is violent, and violence is there throughout the movie, the family elements, i.e. the main character, Christophers family gives the movie depth and a realistic perspective. The comedy element is also there throughout. This excellent combination of thriller and comedy throws the audience between laugher, excitement, thrill and compassion. The part that happens in Rotterdam gives the movie a fresh peak. Baltasar Kormákur handles the main role (Christopher) brilliantly. It is nice to see him act again after an absence of the screen for quite a while. One would guess that his emphasis on working as director and producer the last years has leveled him upward as an actor. Ingvar Sigurdsson also delivers his character (Steingrimur) with fine sensitivity, as often before. There are two new upcoming stars worth to mention. Lilja Nott (Iris) is convincing as the mother of two boys and wife of Christopher, which has obviously not been too easy to handle often before due to his smuggling habit. Jóhannes Haukur (Eiríkur) has a strong presence and is convincing as the violent drug dealer. He has arrived to stay in the Icelandic scene at least. I definitely recommend Reykjavik-Rotterdam.
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Serviceable Thriller
eschwartzkopf12 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Reykavik-Rotterdam has its moments, and lead actor Baltasar Kormákur does a pretty good job of maintaining a continuity through the film ... but, to be honest, there's not a lot that's extraordinary here.

There's virtually nothing new to this one; it's a rework of ex-con trying to make ends meet and being reeled back into crime, with the kicker of having to help a dumb brother-in-law who's in over his head. Then you have the scheming business owner looking to cut in on the ex- con's lady, and manipulating others to take the ex-con out of her life. (Sound like something you've seen before?) Frankly, Warner Brothers started making this film over-and-over with the birth of the talkies, and the only new angle is containerized shipping as the backdrop and cellphone ringtones as embedded clues.

The cast is certainly fine, but they don't have much to work with as far as their characters. You don't get a sense of anything beyond a bunch of low-lifes aspiring to nothing more than than the continuation of their low-lifedom. And the comedic bits are somewhat shoehorned in for quick and unsatisfying relief -- except for the goofball gangster sequence in Rotterdam, which really didn't last long enough.

It's not a bad movie at all, but it's not something that bears repeat viewing ... it's a spot of entertainment, but wound up in rather tired film clichés. And it's nowhere near the level of an Academy Award nomination for best foreign film.
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Better than the remake
wikipediacabal15 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I saw the Hollywood remake Contraband starring Marky Mark first. That film borrows every major plot point from this one, in slightly altered forms. And yet, the remake is a cartoon where nothing ever is at stake, whereas this film exhibits better logic of the characters and plot points. The dumb plot points (like the salt) are here too.

That's not to say it is a realistic story. More like a lower key Guy Ritchie picture, a heist film with a heightened reality, some comedy and some improbable escapes for the protagonists. The main romantic relationship between Kristofer and Iris is given more time to feel real here but the script is fundamentally plot driven. Kristofer is far more in jeopardy here than in the remake with his active parole and money problems.

I'm not sure this picture deserved its Oscar for Best Foreign Film but it was certainly a good foreign film for American audiences. So long as you aren't bothered by subtitles, anyone who likes a typical Hollywood crime movie will enjoy this one. Those after great foreign cinema with a very different tone should look elsewhere.
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Wanted to love it, but thought it was mediocre
SpannersGerm66912 July 2014
There are things to like about Reykjavik-Rotterdam. First off , its always good to have a film coming out of little known Iceland. Recently films such as Black's Game have really opened my eyes to Cinema from this nation. To see that the Hollywood film Contraband is a remake of Reykjavik -Rotterdam, the expectations were at a high.

Unfortunately Reykjavik-Rotterdam is far from a good film in my opinion. It has many problems with one being that it didn't feel like a complete, all round experience. Our main character travels to Rotterdam on board a cargo ship, to smuggle some alcohol back to Reykjavik in order to give his family a better life. We also have the standard villains who are pursuing and hassling the families of the characters involved. However, while it might sound interesting, the film manages to feel like a B Grade film. By the end of it, you want more. You feel like it was way too simple to receive all the accolades that its received. The villains aren't intimidating enough and the plight of the main character isn't translated very well through the screen.

To sum it all up, Reykjavik-Rotterdam feels like a movie that was rushed. With patience, it could have been memorable, but unfortunately it falls short of the mark.

If you want to see a good Icelandic Crime Thriller, I would suggest Black's Game!
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Edge of your seat thriller!
Erik Klefsaas19 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
What begins as what seems to be a calm conversation over a cigarette between three young men, the opening scene of Reykjavik Rotterdam, directed by Oskar Jonasson (2008), quickly turns into one of the young men frantically running for his life from his two cigarette "friends." Unfortunately, Arnor failed to escape the two bruisers and gets a good beating. The reason for his overly hostile reprimand is because of a recent botched smuggling of alcohol, a job given to Arnor from his brother in law and former alcohol smuggler himself and main character, Kristofer. Since Kristofer vouched for Arnor to do the job, he has feelings of guilt and a sense of responsibility for his brother in law and his well-being. Struggling for money and the fact that he is an experienced and savvy smuggler himself, Kristofer is suspiciously roped into coming out of retirement for another alcohol smuggling affair to Rotterdam by his wife's ex boyfriend, Steingrimur, who seems to have an ulterior motive for pressuring Kristofer into doing the job. To his family's dismay, Kristofer accepts the job and boards a cargo ship with old crew members that are in on the smuggling as well. The captain of the cargo ship is anything but happy when he learns of Kristofer's presence on his ship, and is determined to catch he and other crew members in the act. Back in Reykjavik, Steingrimur's incessant scheming begins to feel routine when finally his real motive is revealed; he wants Kristofer to get caught in the act of smuggling alcohol because he knows that if he does, Kristofer will be in jail for a long time and in Steingrimur's mind that will surely lead to his eventual rekindled relationship with his ex girlfriend, which he will stop at nothing to achieve. A couple shootouts and even more fairly ridiculous twists set the stage for the rest of the rest of the film as the plot begins to unfold.

Undoubtedly, there are various underlying themes beneath this Icelandic action-thriller. One of which is that of "class lines" and the vast difference between the "haves" and the "have nots". It is easy to see that Kristofer is struggling to make ends meet with a wife and two kids to support in addition to his criminal record of the past. Kristofer and his family already live in a very confined space and there is even a possibility of being evicted, in which case they may have to live with relatives, borrow money, or downgrade further yet regarding housing. On the other hand, Steingrimur represents the "haves" in this film. He is portrayed as a businessman type with money not being a problem in his life, and carries himself in a way that people will know that he is well off. Even more evident is his egotistical nature while at the same time has the ability to "kindly" manipulate situations in order to achieve what he wants. Although Steingrimur is better off monetary wise, Kristofer hands down has the edge in character. Even though both Steingrimur and Kristofer are criminals, Kristofer is solely in it for the money that is needed to support his financially struggling family, but the same can not be said for Steingrimur.

Another strong theme present in Reykjavik Rotterdam I believe is that of love, and how love can drive anybody to do things they normally would never do. Case in point: a successful person like Steingrimur would normally never plot to have his ex girlfriend's husband imprisoned for the sole and self-centered purpose of ending up with Iris. However, his love for Iris drives him to do more than just set up Kristofer. He lies, manipulates, and commits serious crimes, all in the name of love. This eventually leads to irony when, after going through all that trouble to have Iris to himself, he is the one who accidentally kills Iris in a heated rage after his intentions and actions are put into question. Equally as evident is Kristofer's love for Iris and his children. He loves them dearly, and as a man does not want to have to borrow money in order to support the people he loves. But, because he loves his wife and kids, he will do nearly anything is order to support them and simply be together as a family.

Overall, the film was very enjoyable to watch and see how the plot unfolded. Even better was the random comic lines and scenes that added another great aspect to the film, which along with the action and unique story line undoubtedly kept my attention throughout the entire film. My only caveat was that there were a few scenes as well as a twist that seemed just a tad bit unbelievable, but what's a movie without a little bit of over the top drama? It sure got sucked me in hook, line, and sinker. Other than that, I truly enjoyed the film as a whole and would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a thriller with great acting, and not solely for international cinema guru's. 9 out of 10 stars.
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An enjoyable Icelandic crime drama
Tweekums14 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Christopher is having money problems; much of what he owns was given to him by his friend Steingrímur; his wife Iris jokes that he even got her the same way! With the landlord threatening to evict him from his home he agrees to Steingrímur suggestion that he return to his old smuggling ways and bring a consignment of vodka from The Netherlands; Steingrímur will fund the operation and they will split the profits fifty-fifty. While Christopher sails for Rotterdam a drug dealer and his thugs start intimidating his wife for reasons that aren't immediately obvious. Aboard ship he and his shipmates work out where they will hide all the vodka so that the captain won't find it. Meanwhile another crewmate finds where he has hidden the money. After arriving in Rotterdam the lack of money could prove a problem but their contact forces Christopher and a friend to help them with an art heist as payment. As they return to Iceland it becomes obvious that Steingrímur isn't the friend Christopher thought he was. When he gets back he will have problems with the police, the drug dealer and Steingrímur.

When I picked this film on DVD I knew nothing about it; the blurb on the box made it look interesting and I didn't have any Icelandic films in my collection so I bought it… I'm pleased that I did. The story is interesting with some fine action as well as a surprising amount of comedy. This comedy is unforced; based entirely on amusing incidents rather than silliness or comic dialogue. The cast do an impressive job; especially Baltasar Kormákur who gives a standout performance as Christopher; also notable are Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson as Steingrímur and Lilja Nótt Þórarinsdóttir as Iris. The action is good without being over the top; I particularly liked when the ship arrived in Rotterdam and it looked as if it wasn't going to stop in time and the art heist scene. As the film approaches its conclusion the tension rises nicely and for a while it looks as if a key character is dead. Overall I'd certainly recommend this to anybody looking for something a little different.
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grade Z confusing amateurish bore
italy115 February 2013
This movie was so amateurish it distracted from what ever the story was supposed to be about. It was a smuggling thriller but am still not sure exactly what they were smuggling vodka pills or both. (I think?? one group was smuggling pills another vodka and the hero's "friend" stole the money which he was supposed to pay out so landed him in trouble.

The "good" smuggler evidently figured out a way to have the vodka laced with heroin or whatever he was smuggling float to the surface of the ocean where he ditched it at just the exact right time so it could be recovered. If you could have followed what laws of physics he exploited to achieve this at least it would have made sense. If that was even the case?

This is below a B grade it is a Z grade Icelandic thriller movie....the smuggler/robin hood hero gets away with it.

The main character's wife looked like she about to be raped a half dozen times and it looked like she was killed once including being totted around wrapped in clear plastic but ends up smiling in a hospital bed at the end of the movie.

This thing is an amateurish dog. Iceland can surely produce something better than this. Confusing bad acting boring what else makes a movie a dud? This one had it. Maybe if I could have followed the logic of the story it would have helped.

It gets 2 stars for the uniqueness of being from Iceland otherwise it would have gotten 1.

Maybe you have to watch it twice to figure out the story. But nothing about this movie could force me to do that.

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Getting the contraband.
morrison-dylan-fan8 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers

Reading reviews about the 2012 Action movie Contraband,I was surprised to find out that the flick was a remake of a 2008 Nordic Noir title.Taking a look for the film,I was disappointed to find no English Subtitles DVD edition around.

December 2015:

With Christmas coming up in a few days I decided to go to a £1 shop to pick up some last items,and I was surprised to find dozens of DVDs of the original Contraband!,which led to me deciding that it was finally time to purchase some contraband.

The plot:

Getting out of jail after once again being caught selling black market alcohol, Kristófer promises his wife Íris and their kids that he will "go straight" in his new job as a security guard.A few days into his new job, Kristófer gets a call from Íris's brother Arnór,who tells Kristófer that underworld gangsters are after him,after he dumped a load of black market booze in the ocean,over fears that the cops were about to sniff it out.

Despite being desperate to stay on the path, Kristófer cuts a deal with the gangsters,which will involve him joining Arnór to keep the next batch safe.Meeting with old friend Steingrímur, (who continues to secretly love Íris) Kristófer gets the chance to join Arnór on the boat.As Kristófer sets off for the contraband, Steingrímur sets off for Íris.

View on the film:

For Kristofer's failed attempt to go straight,co-writer/(along with Arnaldur Indriðason) director Óskar Jónasson & cinematographer Bergsteinn Björgúlfsson soak the film in light Nordic Noir blues which stylishly reveals Kristófer's blue collar roots.Sticking Kristófer on a ship for a good part of the film, Jónasson hits the sea with an anxious mood,as brilliantly held corner shots unlock the limited locations Kristofer has to hide the contraband and his murky Film Noir past.

Kept to a lean 83 minute running time, (25 minutes shorter than the remake) the screenplay by Jónasson & Arnaldur Indriðason (who is also a superb Nordic Noir novelist) smartly keeps things evenly split between Kristófer and Íris,which creates an excellent friction in how they address enter the crime underworld,with Kristófer's desperate attempt to keep one foot in his family life being neatly counted by Íris unknowingly taking the rest of the family deeper into the ruthless Nordic Noir world. Delivering a somewhat up-beat ending which thankfully keeps the contraband out of the most lawful hands,the writers give Kristófer and Íris a fantastic kick into the Film Noir darkness,as Kristófer starts to fear that Íris life is about to become contraband.

Going on to direct the US remake, Baltasar Kormákur gives a great performance as Kristófer,thanks to Kormákur's firmly gripping Kristófer's humble roots whilst also bringing his sharp Film Noir loner skills back out of the shadows.As Kristófer tries to keep his dealings undercover,the very pretty Lilja Nótt Þórarinsdóttir gives Íris a sweet relaxed charm which becomes brittle,as Íris and the rest of the family find their hands covered in Kristófer's contraband.
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