Director: Tinna Hrafnsdóttir
Writer: Tinna Hrafnsdóttir
Starring: Anita Briem, Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir, Tinna Hrafnsdóttir, Edda Björgvinsdóttir, Jóhann Sigurðsson, Bergur Ebbi Benediktsson
Quake recently received its world premiere at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. It’s written and directed by Tinna Hrafnsdóttir, who also co-stars in the film. It’s a drama about loss, grief and losing independence.
Saga (Anita Briem) is a novelist who is struggling to meet the deadline on her new book. After being granted an extension, she suffers an epileptic seizure while walking home with her son. It leads causes her life to change massively, as her family have to watch over her, and her son is taken by his father to be looked after. The seizure has caused memory loss, while at the same time Saga is starting to remember things from her childhood that had been locked away for years.
The opening of this film is really gripping, it grabs your attention from the first moment it starts. It’s a little over ninety minutes in total, but absolutely flies by. Hrafnsdóttir wonderfully creates the sense of bewilderment and confusion caused by the memory loss with the cuts in the camera. When Saga first wakes up from the seizure in the hospital you really get the bewilderment that she is feeling. A lot is happening, and it feels very jumpy, so you’re not completely sure what’s happening and how much Saga is aware of.
After Saga can go home, she has to have family looking after her and more importantly her mother and ex-husband have agreed that he should look at her son. She’s completely lost her independence and can’t see her son when she wants to. It’s a hard adjustment that Saga doesn’t want to make and you can really feel her pain. She’s being told that she can’t drive, and her life isn’t going to be normal. Her doctor tells her that there isn’t anything they can do to ensure she doesn’t have a future seizure, even with more medication. There’s a real sense of hopelessness.
The memories from childhood that Saga starts to remember is the catalyst for the second half of the story. Her mother disappears, like she does every year, and no one seems to know where she’s gone. Saga starts to investigate this by herself, leading to a shocking twist that changes everything up to that moment.
While the twist is satisfying and does carry the film to the finish line, it does feel a little too long by that point. The terrific opening momentum isn’t kept up and the mystery takes a long time to really get going. Once it does the ending is good, but it takes way too long to actually get there.
Quake is about a traumatic event that turns the world of Saga upside down. It’s a really good drama that does a great job at capturing the feelings of the main characters, it’s just as great as it could be.
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