Sick of Myself15
There was a time when nobody liked an attention seeker. It was the kind of behaviour that if presented with by a child would be met with a response of disdain and a fair amount of eye rolling.
But things have changed, with this kind of behaviour not only being rewarded with ‘likes’ and follows, but elevate those to a level of celebrity.
Norwegian writer and director Kristoffer Borgli’s film is an allegory of our times, as it follows a young woman’s desire for attention.
Living in Oslo is young couple Signe (Kristine Kujath Thorp) and her artist boyfriend Thomas (Eirik Sӕther). Thomas is on the cusp of being discovered, which Signe tries to support, but finds herself increasingly disappearing into the background when it comes to attending social gatherings together. It’s a feeling that Signe doesn’t like, so she begins to over compensate, in various ways, to stand out from the crowd.
Although her tactics work briefly, it’s not enough to satiate her ego. She gets inspiration from an online article, about a Russian drug, that could be just what she’s looking for – attention on a much wider scale.
But after taking it, Signe starts to understand the saying that you should be careful what you wish for.
Scandinavia has a reputation for producing a fair few black comedies over the years. This may have something to do with parts of it being cloaked in darkness for months at a time, but maybe this itself is just a facade to disguise the fact that there just so happens to be a number of sick puppies that live there.
In any case, Borgli’s latest is much like those light-deprived months in being very dark indeed.
Its protagonist is a young, bright woman, who adores being in the spotlight. But instead of feeding off of a crowd onstage perhaps, she embraces it in a more public forum, in her home city of Oslo. For her it is her drug of choice, which leads her to extreme measures with drastic, harmful results.
Her story is an allegory for the selfie generation, who live with the misapprehension that an audience exists with an insatiable appetite for snapshots into their mundane lives. And to be fair, such an audience does exist for many, with a growing addiction for constantly checking social feeds to see what meal whoever they’re following is having next, or what fabulous outfit they're trying on.
Signe represents that wannabe influencer, who goes to extraordinary lengths to be perceived as someone with a truly interesting life. But Borgli is keen for his heroine to suffer the pitfalls of such flights of fancy, with quite a horrifying fall, never knowing when enough is enough.
Thorp excels as the needy Signe, who walks that fine line perfectly between being a well observed performance and a glaring parody. Borgli is rarely sympathetic either, as he leaves his audience, more often than not, believing that she’s done to herself.
It’s sharply observed absurdity is tinged with that trademarked Scandi noir comedy sensibility that won’t be to everyone’s taste, but will serve as a thick slice of the deliciously dark for those with a stomach for it.