Set in Norway during the 1920s, The Outlaws tells the story of Johannes (Åsmund Høeg), a young man who both falls in love with drifter Mikael (Filip Berg). Having been alone in the woods for some time following a succession of upsetting life events, Johannes is more than happy to help Mikael out with his various schemes, but a failed train robbery soon escalates things and tests the relationship between the two.
The Outlaws is very much a piece about dualities: as well as the narrative duality of its unlikely duo, the film plays with genres and cinematic conventions to paint a portrait befitting of the complex relationship between Johannes and Mikael. The movie is at once a romance and a crime thriller, with strong scripting and camerawork that can shift from representing tender emotions to raw, brutal violence while maintaining momentum, creating a story that is cohesive in its contradictions.
The driving force of the narrative is the dynamic between Johannes and Mikael, and Høeg and Berg both deliver solid performances to effectively represent their constantly shifting relationship. Berg is great as the unstable criminal Mikael, able to switch from affable and charming to violent and aggressive at a moment’s notice. Johannes is a quieter, subtler character who balances out the enigmatic pair well, and Høeg brings a strong, emotive performance to do the compelling character arc justice.
The Outlaws is a tragic tale of doomed love, and Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken has done a fine job with creating a gripping and emotional piece that represents the complexity of the human experience. The dynamic at the film’s core is at once simple and intricate, and everything from the scripting to the cinematography to the acting serves to add interesting layers while keeping the story straightforward and engaging.
The Outlaws does not have a UK release date yet.
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