Director: Roar Uthaug
Writer: Espen Aukan, Roar Uthaug
Cast: Ine Marie Wilmann, Kim Falck, Mads Sjøgård Pettersen, Gard B. Eidsvold, Anneke von der Lippe, Fridtjov Såheim
Seen on: 16.12.2022
Nora Tildemann (Ine Marie Wilmann) is a paleontologist, currently digging for dinosaur fossils. Due to her expertise, she is called in after an explosion at a building site in the mountains that seems to have set something ancient free. But nobody knows exactly what they’re dealing with. Nora can hardly believe her eyes when she looks at the tracks: it seems that her father Tobias (Gard B. Eidsvold), a disgraced scientist who lost his standing for his theory that trolls are actually real may have been right after all.
Troll is entertaining enough, albeit predictable and with slightly muddled metaphors. But you know exactly what you’ll be getting when you get into the film.
Troll hits all the usual notes in the playbook for disaster and/or kaiju movies, especially with the characters of Nora and her father Tobias. The scientist with his crackpot theories who was right all along, but the establishment just doesn’t want to believe him. And I have to admit, at a time where science and scientist are fighting really hard to make the difference clear between real science and the scientific consensus on the one hand, and on the other hand, dissenting minority opinions that are often quite dangerous, this underdog scientist narrative strikes differently. More often than not, people frowned on by the scientific community actually don’t have a scientific leg to stand on, and it’s not because “the establishment” wants to shut them up. In fact, it’s the scientific establishment that isn’t heard enough in mainstream media. With all the misinformation about Corona or the climate crisis going around, maybe it’s not that helpful to go with the scientist underdog stories.
Speaking of the climate crisis, the titular troll is a metaphor for the climate crisis – only when it isn’t. Unless you want to make a case that Christianity is at fault for climate change. Or that the changing climate is actually a way of the earth to get revenge for the atrocities committed against it. I mean, you probably could make those cases, but they probably would be a little tenuous. The troll is also a metaphor for indigenous people who have had to face genocide. And with both of those metaphors in mind, the ending makes me a little nervous, to put it mildly. It ultimately ends with the obliteration of the creature and not the problems that set it on its path.
Setting aside these issues, what we get is a movie that tells a standard story in a professional way, with excellent special effects. The troll looks fantastic, there’s no doubt about that, and both the plot and action are handled competently enough that the film has a very nice flow and will keep you engaged from start to finish.
But a little more revolutionary sensibility would have done it some good, a little more deviation from the tried and tested. And it wouldn’t have hurt if Nora had another woman at her side on her quest instead of being surrounded by dudes. As is, the film feels too much “same old, same old” to be really good.
Summarizing: okay, albeit a little tired.