“I could never hurt you, I only wanted what was best for us”
Naboer (or Next Door) is a critically acclaimed psychological horror film from Norway. The film was infamous in its own country as being the first film in 17yrs to receive an 18 rating. Directed by Pal Sletaune, Naboer is a David Lynchesque thriller with scenes of strong violence & explicit sex, in one case combined that have stirred up some controversy.
The plot concerns John (Kristoffer Joner) who after splitting up with his girlfriend Ingrid becomes acquainted with his new next door neighbours. Intrigued by the sisters Anne (Cecillie Mosli) & Kim (Julia Schacht) & curious how they know so much about him & his relationship with Ingrid, John finds himself being drawn into a dark psychological game.
To describe any more of the plot would start to give away plot elements & spoilers. The film is well acted, beautifully shot & intelligently written. Sadly it is also overly long & the ending is very predictable after 15 or so minutes. This film would have worked so much better as a short film or even better as an episode of The Twilight Zone or Tales Of The Unexpected. There simply isn’t enough of a story here to fill a full movie. At times it almost feels like the makers padded the movie out to bring it up to feature length. It’s this more than anything that condemns the film to being a disappointment. Naboer wants to be a David Lynch movie but fails almost completely in that respect. It may look like a Lynch movie but it lacks any substance. Lynch’s movies are always visually stunning, complex, multilayered films, Naboer isn’t. As much as Naboer tries to be a complex thriller, it is in fact incredibly linnear. There is a great amont of promise shown here but sadly it never quite comes off. Unlike a lot of movies that suffer from endless script rewrites, Naboer’s script needed some work, some depth, something. The film is also notorious for a scene of explicitly violent consentual sex. The scene is shocking & quintessential to the plot, but the way it’s filmed almost looks like a desperate ploy to gain notoriety. The film is actually incredibly explotative of it’s sexual content in it’s advertising. It seems to me that when the makers sat down & watched the finished movie they realised it wasn’t quite what they had hoped. So some bright spark sugested the old “sex sells” angle. So Julia Schacht finds herself on the movie poster in a very unsubtle picture & the movies central sex scene is hyped.
There isn’t much more I can say about Naboer. It’s not a disaster of a movie by any means. It’s just not that great either. Sadly for Naboer there are much better movies in this genre. A Missed opportunity.