Tatt av kvinnen (2007)
Erlend Loe's trademark idiosyncratic characters are both a blessing and a curse for this adaptation of his first novel, "Tatt av kvinnen", from 1993. Through his authorship, the popular Norwegian writer has created a distinct style which has amused and annoyed readers through the naïve and minimalistic nature of his characters. In Tatt av kvinnen, Petter Næss, Trond Fausa Aurvåg and Marian Saastad Ottesen all embrace this nature unconditionally, and as often is in Loe's world, quite a few curious and witty situations and reactions come out of it. Some of these will be recognizable, while others won't, but when the humour and quirkiness has settled, these are fairly ridiculous creatures. They have no everyday quality to them, no way of releasing themselves from Loe's obsessive strait jacket of a conceptual system. It's obvious he doesn't understand women, which is basically the whole point, but it is a pity that this inability also leads to a film about a non-existing, caricatured woman.
What brings Tatt av kvinnen to life is Petter Næss' vision and skill as a director. The film combines appealing visuals with a playful rhythm. There are several segments in which Næss' filmatic flair saves otherwise flat and insignificant moments that are meant to contain some valuable insights or thoughts on life. How effective these are, ranges from one extreme to another. One that most definitely doesn't work is the Peter Stormare relation. Glenn is a plot element, not a person, ostensibly only existing in the realm of a highly constructed sauna environment - and the horrible fusion of Norwegian and Swedish only intensifies the problem. Even the countless Swedish waiters working in Oslo realise that it's better to keep their original accent.
Tatt av kvinnen is at its best when it moves freely and balances between the surreal and the mundane with pinpointed irony. Until we give up on the Marianne character, it absolutely captures moments of truth about the notorious man/woman relationship. Unfortunately, our protagonist needs a painful amount of time to come to the same conclusion as us. It seems that Tatt av kvinnen only needed to have made a few different choices to have been able to leave a completely different impression. One of them could perhaps have been to replace Marian Saastad Ottesten.