Buddy (2003)

DVD Cover (Film Movement)
Genres: Comedy Drama, Romantic Comedy
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Morten Tyldum Morten Tyldum
Nicolai Cleve Broch Nicolai Cleve Broch
Aksel Hennie Aksel Hennie
Anders Baasmo Christiansen Anders Baasmo Christiansen
Pia Tjelta Pia Tjelta
Janne Formoe Janne Formoe

6.8 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: August 02, 2005
After two days of rather forgettable films at the 2004 Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, the third day delivered surprise after surprise, giving me the chance to see three films that all have a shot of making my end of the year list. Does this mean that the festival of 2004 has surpassed the festival of 2003? Yes, it does. That might sound odd considering "Hide & Creep" and "Silver City" were such wastes of time, but the three films I saw today restored my faith in independent cinema. "Buddy" was the first film of the day for me, and it turned out to be the most thoroughly enjoyable cinematic experience I have had in months. Filmed in Norway and featuring subtitles, this was the best foreign film I have seen since "Life Is Beautiful".

The film centers around four young people who share an apartment at Toyen Station. Kristoffer (Nicolai Cleve Broch) carries his camera with him everywhere to film he and his two friends, Geir (Aksel Hennie) and Stig Inge (Anders Baasmo Christiansen), committing insane and usually juvenile acts in the tradition of "Jackass". Usually, it seems that they commit these acts as a way of getting through their emotional hold-ups. The fourth roommate is Henrietta (Pia Tjelta), the only girl in the group, and the glue that holds their fragile little unit together. See -- these guys have issues; Geir has a son he never sees because he is too worried about being a father, and Stig Inge has anxiety attacks whenever he starts to leave the apartment building, which is why he has not left it in two years. As for Kristoffer, his primary problem seems to be that he doesn't know what he wants in life, especially when it comes to women and romance.

One day, by accident, Kristoffer's videos find their way into the hands of a television producer and eventually onto a primetime show, turning the three friends into instant celebrities. However, success is not so sweet when the strains and demands of stardom take their toll on the four friends. Pay close attention to the relationship between Kristoffer and Stig Inge because it becomes the most rewarding by the end of the film -- it allows us to see the inner workings of true friendship in a way few films have matched. Also notice the relationship between Geir and his son Martin -- they both seem exactly alike, and everyone can see it excepet for Geir.

This is what movies are all about. Rarely have I left a theatre feeling so happy and positive with life. Never have I left a theatre thinking, "God, I wish I could stay and watch that movie again" -- until today. This film had immense humor, heart, and some of the most genuine acting I have seen in a long time. Nicolai Cleve Broch is marvelous as Kristoffer, and one of the most gorgeous men to hit the silver screen in some time. Anders Baasmo Christiansen also makes a lasting impression as Stig Inge, a guy who wants to live life, but is always afraid he left the oven on in the apartment. The chemistry of the four leads is what drives this picture home, and it would not have been the same had it been missing any of the four.

By the end of this film, we almost know exactly what is going to happen, but that does not matter. We have become so emotionally invested in the characters, it still comes off as a surprise to our senses. I don't know if Norway normally crafts films of this calibur, but if they do, I am signing up for their internet DVD club, because films like "Buddy" should not go unseen. Every single person in the theatre was clapping as loudly as they possibly could, because everyone else realized what I realized -- "Buddy" is a magnificent picture and one that deserves far more credit than it has received. Imagine Kevin Smith going to Norway and directing a film -- it would come close to the magic and charm of "Buddy". I encourage all of you to find this film on video or DVD as soon as it is released. You will be missing out if you choose not to do it. 8.5/10.
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