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The Oath


104 minutes · 2016

Drama, Thriller
After directing the Hollywood action films 2 Guns and Everest, Baltasar Kormákur returns to his native Iceland for this unpleasant thriller about a heart surgeon taking revenge on his teenage daughter's abusive drug-dealer boyfriend. As in many other Scandinavian thrillers, the style is cold and austere, the content ugly and misanthropic. Kormákur, who also plays the surgeon, takes a fetishistic approach to the doctor's torture methods, presenting them in meticulous detail and encouraging delight at their effectiveness. He aims for a sense of moral ambiguity by suggesting the surgeon's revenge is crueler than anything the boyfriend might have done, but the one-dimensional characters defeat any attempt at tonal complexity. This is basically a tony variation on Death Wish, with handsome cinematography and production design to distract from the simpleminded sadism. In Icelandic with subtitles.

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