You can see yellow ear tags on several of the rein deer's ears. These tags are a modern way of identifying ownership of the rein deers. The traditional way of tagging rein deers was to cut unique markings in the rein deer's ears. See more »
I don't want to be reductive, but let's face it, you're reading this review to decide if this movie is one you want to watch. I don't want to tell you what happens, because I wouldn't want to deprive you of seeing the story unfold for yourself. So no spoilers. I will say that the themes in this movie are universal, particularly the individual's struggle against injustice from those in power.
I suspect every culture has a noted hero who struggled against oppressive authority (e.g., William Wallace, Rob Roy, Pan Singh Tomar, Tadas Blinda, and Ned Kelly). Here, the hero and victim is humble Elen Skum, a simple rural woman who wished to worship in her own way and to protect her family from the scourge of alcohol. While not as exciting a tale as many of her fellow rebels', it is all the more poignant for its simplicity. Elen, a simple, rural mother and wife, stakes it all to save her family. She, and her family and friends, are too innocent to understand the forces arrayed against them, but they are a hard people tempered by an unforgiving climate. Each sides' refusal to give ground ultimately lead to tragic consequences.
Story aside, the acting is amazing. While there were a couple of editing hiccups early in the film, the sparse beauty of the country and the surprisingly good performances(particularly from Ms. Jusso) more than make up for any such quibbles. I really enjoyed the insight into this Nordic culture, and would encourage anyone looking for a thoughtful movie dealing with the theme of oppression to give it a shot.
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