aka: Them and Us
Director: Svend Wam
Starring: Torgeir Schjerven, Lasse Tømte, Kjersti Døvigen, Jorunn Kjellsby, Thomas Robsahm
Lasse and Geir are two young adults from Oslo who are both without any significant education or jobs. They are strongly opinionated and have a very anti-society look on things. They have no desire to take part of the common life that is about work and family.
Instead, they want to be free from the chains and pressure of it all and find their own paths in life. This outlook on things doesn’t come easy and to feed themselves they have to do some petty criminal acts and there is only so long they can manage to live that way before they end up in big trouble.
Lasse and Geir is a legendary Norwegian film, mostly thanks to the outrageous over the top dialogue that was written for it. Highlights such as when Lasse goes up to a classy mature lady on the bus, takes out his penis and asks her “Look at my cock, you cunt” (even better in the native Norwegian language) and the dinner scene between Lasse and his insane angry father who goes through the roof when he is served something as vile as jello for desert are some of the most memorable scenes any Norwegian film has had to offer its audience.
This is the first “big” film that Svend Wam and Petter Vennerød did together. The duo is legendary for their movies that are filled with social commentaries, over the top or bad acting, controversial subject matter and interesting characters. Usually the comments they are trying to make are hard to catch, at least so many years later, but Lasse and Geir isn’t that hard to understand. The perspective of the ones who have fallen outside of the norm where you go to school, get a job, create a family, have children and die is just as current today as it was in the 70’s. If it weren’t, then this film would probably be just as hard to decode as the other films the duo made after it.
The film looks as gritty as its inner city premise, which only helps it in this case. It will be great to see this film for those who have nostalgic feelings about Oslo in the 70’s, since it captures the look of it very well and for that alone it deserves to be preserved for future generations. I also don’t think the acting was that bad here and I believe the filmmakers got exactly what they wanted from the actors.
What does fail though is the narration and the main story, as is common with Wam and Vennerød movies. It seems like they didn’t know how to end the film and what they came up with is decent, but with a better ending the film could have become so much more. I wish that they would take it darker and that would have been more suitable considering they wanted to offend people with the film.
Lasse and Geir is a fun character study of outsiders who wants to stick it to “the man”. It’s perhaps the only Wam and Vennerød movie I would show any non-Norwegians and even if most mainstream critics will make fun of it, I still think it has something to offer and it’s a film I liked a lot.