Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.
Let’s hear for that title: Flukt. As in, dude, you are so FLUCKT.
Escape (Netflix) is the boring yet presumably accurate English translation. It’s fitting that the entire plot is encapsulated in one simple word. Though Flukt is great looking and well acted, the narrative is formulaic, telegraphing all its best moves well in advance.
It’s ten years after the Black Plague wiped out half the population of Norway (had no idea it reached far) and a peasant family decides it’s time to set off for a better life or something. Surprising no one, they are set upon by bandits who kill mom, dad and, most horrifically, their young son. The only survivor is taken prisoner and she must…well, you read the title.
The story from there follows a very straight line. She finds a way loose, flees, is pursued. One by one, her aggressors are eliminated. Showdown. Fin. It plays out similarly to the much better Apocalypto, which at least had a heavy home field advantage to explain its hero’s triumph over insurmountable odds. The hero in Flukt is a 14 year old girl who has no idea where she is and no training in wilderness survival. Yet she’s able to outwit or otherwise defeat her pursuers through just the right mix of luck and courage.
The issue isn’t so much that Flukt stretches credibility, but that it takes no interesting turns. You’ll most likely anticipate how she gets free and what happens when she runs. You’ll probably even begin to surmise the fates of her attackers based on their actions and the particular weaknesses each displays. Extra points if you guessed a benevolent interloper will show up at some point.
But if you can overlook such niggling complaints, Fluckt is really pretty neat. (Fun fact: I looked up the word “niggling” to make sure it wasn’t derived from a racial epithet. It’s not, but it does happen to be Norwegian in origin. And now you know that.)
Flukt is beautifully photographed and you can’t say enough about the stunning environment of the rugged Norwegian countryside. 100-foot waterfalls abound and vast rocky hills stretch off into the mist in every direction. Such grand settings would be right at home half a day’s journey from Mordor.
From a design standpoint, this movie is legit. The characters look down and dirty, desperate and savage. They feel like they could have existed in the middle ages. That’s really saying something when you consider the leader of the gang is a woman. How many action movies have placed a woman in a similar position of power but utterly failed to justify her place at the head of the table? Think Angelina Jolie doing kung fu and firing machine guns so heavy her toothpick arms can barely hold them.
The leading bad lady in Fluckt is fierce, with cold blue eyes and a powerful physicality. When she tussles with a mutinous underling, you have no trouble believing she could kick a grown man’s ass. Even her walk is has a gravity of motion that unmistakably conveys, “Do not fluckt with me.” Her name is Ingrid Bolsø Berdal. You’ll see more of her soon in The Rock’s Hercules, where she plays Atalanta.
Added bonus: Hard to come up with an added bonus, the movie’s so straightforward. How about that benevolent interloper? He’s pretty badass.