Film Review by Kam Williams
Nerdy Norwegian Shaken out of Comfort Zone in Quirky Character Study
For years, Marie (Ane Dahl Torp) served as her father, Ernst Ernst’s (Stein Winge), assistant in his capacity as the head of Norway’s Institute of Weights and Measures. The low-visibility government position enabled the homely spinster to toil away in the shadows and thus hide her obsessive-compulsive tendencies.
But then everything changed the fateful day her father had a heart attack and had to be hospitalized. That catastrophic development has now forced Marie to assume a more public role, including representing the nation at the upcoming convention being held in France by members of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures.
The organization’s hot button topic involves the impending conversion of the standard kilo from a solid into a state-of-the-art electronic form ostensibly ensuring a higher degree of accuracy. And while such a concern might make the Average Joe’s eyes glaze over, it’s the sort of topic which absolutely enthralls Marie and her equally-nerdy colleagues.
Before departing for the seminar, she takes Norway’s official kilo out of the safe where it’s stored and bundles it up carefully for the possibly perilous trek to Paris. Nothing earth-shattering is expected to transpire there, unless you’re the type of geek who gets excited by a spirited debate about redefining mass units.
That’s the solemn point of departure of 1001 Grams, the latest offering from filmmaker Bent Hamer (Kitchen Capers). The enigmatic Norwegian has a knack for creating droll dramedies apt to enthrall or infuriate depending on the degree of one’s tolerance for tortoise-paced productions.
In this case, 1001 Grams unfolds so slowly that, at first blush, the tale comes off as a practically-pointless slice-of-life indulgence. As it turns out, however, there is actually an interesting arc to Marie’s character, reflected in an attraction which blossoms at the 11th-hour into romance with a fellow scientist (Laurent Stocker).
An intriguing object lesson highlighting how hard it is not only to realize you’re in a rut but to find the strength to abandon self-destructive habits that have long-since outlived their usefulness.
Very Good (3 stars)
In Norwegian, French and English with subtitles
Running time: 87 minutes
Distributor: Kino Lorber