Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Wild Hunt

Alexandre Franchi | 2009 | 96 mins | Canada

For the first hour, this strange drama about LARPing is kind of funny. Erik (Ricky Mabe) has just been left by his brooding, hot-and-gothy girlfriend Evelyn (Tiio Horn). Instead of moping in his apartment (which he shares with his senile dad), Erik decides to follow her and get some answers about the ambiguous I need space-ish dumping. As it turns out, Evelyn's gone off to participate in a weekend long live action role playing event, invited by Erik's kooky brother, Bjorn (Mark Antony Krupa, who also co-wrote the screenplay).

In the LARPiverse, Bjorn is a mighty Viking warrior, Evelyn is the Viking princess, and they are poised to fight some Celts. When Erik arrives at the game's site, he quickly learns that he will get nowhere near Evelyn without donning a costume and playing along. Erik soon discovers that the Viking princess has been kidnapped by the evil Shaman Murtagh (Trevor Hayes), who intends to "kill her" in order to begin the Wild Hunt - a rampage throughout the camp that will lead to the weekend's final, crucial battle.

Erik's meddling inevitably messes up the well laid plans of the LARPers and causes significant rifts in the make-believe world. As the wild hunt draws near, the game turns terrifyingly real for some of the players. It is here, in the final act of the film, that The Wild Hunt threatens to become really interesting - but doesn't quite get there. Men who take their fantasy life all too seriously are forced to confront the realities of their choices, the harsh juxtaposition between real and imagined allegiances. The tone drops and a harsh and sobering finale is marred only by the otherwise somewhat ludicrous and contrived plot twists.

The Wild Hunt is Alexandre Franchi's first feature, and while the script wasn't stellar, the director's sense of story and pacing is not bad. A film about LARPing could have been a lot funnier than this, but Franchi tries to provide laughs without mocking the players or the game. Unfortunately, when the film gets serious, Franchi & co start taking themselves a bit too seriously as well.

1 comment:

Sheigh said...

Myself and 9 of my friends went to see this movie last september. All of up LARPers. It was wonderful. I think the reason LARPing isn't made fun of in this movie is that it's not actually about LARPing. It takes place at a LARP and the LARP is used in a very creative way to tell the characters stories. This critic failed to write anything about the plot. It was about people. People who needed to find something within themselves. The main character needed to let go and stop caring about being "normal" or about what people would think of him. Bjorn needed to learn to deal with the problems he had in the real world and stop hiding in a fantasy world. Some found belonging or friendship. It was a moving story of people and inner growth. Unfortunately this critic didn't look deeper then the surface of the movie.

Seriously. Go see it. It's not an accurate representation of LARPing but an incredible story that is told through the help of a LARP.

It was so good I'm going to see it again in 4 days.