Movie Review

Junk Mail (1998)

MPAA Rating: Unrated, R

Details Rateds: R, Unrated; Genres: Drama, Foreign Language; With: Andrine Saether

Here in the U.S., disgruntled postal workers favor firearms to work out their aggressions. In Pal Sletaune's cheerily grotty Norwegian comedy Junk Mail (which won the International Critics Week prize last year at Cannes, leading to desultory Riviera talk about the emergence of a new Scandinavian film wave), slacker letter carrier Roy (Robert Skjaerstad), an un-housebroken, breathtakingly amoral specimen who lives in a bleak, filth-encrusted flat, dines on cold, congealed spaghetti and blithely steals the mail he's supposed to be delivering when not steaming it open and reading it. Roy's burgeoning obsession with a mysterious, suicidal, equally idiosyncratic woman (Andrine Saether) pulls him deeper into a life of lurking and snooping; he adds stalking to his repertoire and finds himself embroiled in high jinks involving stolen money and karaoke. Yet, somehow, lawbreaking suits him, as it does this highly unusual, meandering, laconic production — a wacky Norsk wallow (now there's an oxymoron for you) in grime and crime, part Ingmar Bergman, part Richard Linklater. A-

Originally posted Apr 17, 1998 Published in issue #427 Apr 17, 1998 Order article reprints

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