It's hard to believe the subtlety and insight of Hawaii, Oslo when viewing Erik Poppe's six years senior debut-film. Like its successor, Schpaa is a film from the streets of Oslo, peaking into the lives of some not so fortunate kids. The film's motivation is painfully obvious as Poppe badly wants to give a truthful, objective rendition of small-time, juvenile delinquents in Norway. He adds some creative touches to cutting and soundtrack, at times giving the film an MTV-feel that seems only awkward here. It's as if Poppe is saying "Hey, look how cool and up-to-date this film is". My question is, why then do people still talk like in the least convincing Wam & Vennerød-movies?
Schpaa is cursed with lacklustre (at its best) acting, from completely untrained performers, constantly delivering awful dialogue from Poppe's artificial and forced script. The lack of realism completely kills off a film whose effectiveness turns on exactly that. What's left is a bunch of multi-ethnic puppets running around in the badly photographed streets of Oslo doing stunts that are too obviously performed in front of a camera. Schpaa can't even make a simple, cute teenage romance even mildly effective. If you for some reason have slumped into seeing this film, please sit through Hawaii, Oslo to allow Erik Poppe the chance to redeem himself.