21 January 2002 | storybandit
Excellent Questing Tale
Cold Fever is one of those rare films where the hero is on a serious and deeply spiritual quest, yet the drama and the philosophy never overshadows the humor. Within the first 15 minutes of the film's depiction of Hirata's trip through Iceland, he is seen standing in the back of a (very large) truck, riding into Reykjavik with numerous other men - all of which are singing (beautifully) in deep baritone voices, the entire way home. One of the men on the truck turns to Hirata and says:
"How do you like Iceland?"
"Very strange country." Hirata replies, and the actor's expression and tone of voice made it a perfect bit of foreshadowing for everything that lies ahead.
This is a story about a man's journey across Iceland to fulfill a family obligation. His parents drowned in a mountain river, and Hirata must go there to free their spirits from the place. However, while the weight of family obligation is what gets him started, and is the goal that keeps him going - the journey, with it's many colorful characters and strange adventures (many of which seem to be born of either luck or a very powerful spiritual guardian seeing this man to his final destination) are what affect and change the man who is on this journey. Yet, despite it's fantastical quality, the film never seems to loose it's suspension of disbelief. In other words, I found myself in awe of the adventure without becoming annoyed by the impossibility of it.
My only complaint would be the number of times Hirata decides to just walk away from a cab or a broken down car. 90% of the movie is filmed in Iceland, in the middle of winter, and the reality of walking around in a business suit (with a suitcase, briefcase, and poor walking shoes) wasn't (in my opinion) properly displayed. Anyone who has experienced sheer white snow-blind cold depicted in this movie would be tapping their fingers, wondering why this man isn't dead from exposure.
However, I must stress that my single complain is actually a minor one, because it actually enhances the mystical and magical quality of this film. Like I said, Hirata's comment ("Very strange country") is a wonderful bit of foreshadowing.