Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga – A Movie Review

eurovision

I totally misjudged what this movie would be about from the little advertising I saw promoting it. The promotions made it look like Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams are avant-garde, haughty, powerful musicians bent on world domination. In fact, it’s just the opposite.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is a silly, comforting, fun–sometimes even touching–movie featuring two actors who have incredible chemistry and seem to truly enjoy each other’s company.

Will Ferrell plays Lars Erickssong (yes, really), a middle-aged man living with his father and determined to win the Eurovision Song Contest. Rachel McAdams plays Sigrit Ericksdottir (read that last name out loud), Lars’ best friend and possible sister. Together, they make up Fire Saga, a two-person band that can’t seem to find an audience, appreciation, or even respect in their homeland of Iceland.

Through a series of incredible events, they find themselves representing Iceland at the Eurovision Song Contest. There they meet a cavalcade of eccentric European performers. Their friendship is put to the test as temptations, missteps, and even conspiracy threatens their dream.

If all of that sounds very serious … it’s not. This film is full of goofy jokes, ridiculous pratfalls, and hilarious costumes. Yet, the movie does not have a mean spirit at all (other than constantly making fun of European music). When it ended, I actually found myself surprised by the fact that, overall, the whole things was kind of … sweet.

Be warned, though, if you’re watching it with little children, there are some strange moments of violence. I won’t spoil them for you, but I think one might actually be a little frightening for small children. Other than that, though, there isn’t any overt language, nudity, or sex. Oh. Wait. There are some Greek statues that … are rather ambitiously sculpted.

Perhaps most astonishing is the fact that the music is oddly catchy. The final song is actually beautiful. We all know Will Ferrell can sing. What I didn’t know was that Rachel McAdams can carry a tune very well, too. I assumed she lip-synced through the whole thing, but a little research afterwards revealed that she sang all of the songs herself and then they blended her voice with a professional singer’s to create a kind of hybrid.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga features two very likable actors at their absolute most likability. Their characters are strange, naive, and even a little backwards, yet their passion, kindness, and faith in one another takes what could have been a complete farce and turns it into something uniquely sincere.

 

Red Eye – A Movie Review

You know, I really didn’t have a problem with this movie.  It starts off with pretty standard dialogue, but that didn’t bother me so much as I knew it was simply working to establish character.  This is, of course, so that when a shift in character arrives later on it seems more surprising and threatening.  The rest of the film wasn’t necessarily ground breaking, but it was surely entertaining. 

Let me get to the heart of this review: Cillian Murphy.  This guy is why I enjoyed Red Eye so much.  He’s just downright creepy.  His performance is very subtle, very reserved, and that makes him all the more villainous.  I honestly think this fella has a tremendous career ahead of him.  And, to be fair, the film’s other star, Rachel McAdams, held her own with Murphy and I believe she too is well on her way to having an esteemed career. 

I hate to say this, it’s so insulting to the director, but for a Wes Craven film, this thing was top-notch.  Craven is kind of hit or miss for me.  On the one hand, he scared the crap out of me as a kid with A Nightmare on Elm Street.  But, on the other, he also brought us A Vampire in Brooklyn.  All that being said, thanks to Cillian Murphy and Rachel McAdams, Red Eye is quite an enjoyable, edge-of-the-seat thriller.  I’d definitely recommend renting it.