Countdown to CIFF: #7. King Curling
For the 10 days leading up to CIFF’s opening gala, I’ll be posting a quick write-up per day on some of my favourite movies at the fest. I’m not exactly unbiased — CIFF does give me a paycheque, after all — but these posts are my own opinions and not those of the festival.
I’d call King Curling Norway’s answer to Men With Brooms, but I never actually got around to seeing that one. Even factoring in the presence of Leslie Nielson, though, I doubt Men With Brooms was half as silly as this Norwegian underdog comedy. It helps that even the countries that take curling seriously (hi, Canada!) don’t exactly take curling seriously. And it helps even more that the comedy comes from an outrageous cast of characters, and really only uses the sport as a jumping-off point.
When I say outrageous, I should probably be clear — King of Curling is more straight-faced than your average Dodgeball-type sports comedy, but it’s every bit as ridiculous, with a strong Wes Anderson influence in the mix. The main character is a one-time champion skip who became so obsessed with perfectionism in the game that he pretty much assaulted a judge over imperfections in the ice. After being institutionalized for a decade or so, he’s ready to re-integrate into society, as long as he stays away from the sport. But there’s a sick coach and prize money and, well, you can see where that’s all going. It’s not about the destination, though, which, sure, underdog sports comedy. It’s about the wonderfully offbeat sense of humour, the inspired silliness, the colourful production design. You know, the journey.