THE OATH (Eidurin)


Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur has been involved a a couple of interesting films including "Contraband" (2012), "2 Guns" (2013) and "Everest" (2015). His most financially successful films in the US - as you might imagine - were the two with Mark Walhberg ("Contraband" and "2 Guns". However "Everest" went over big overseas with a global take of $203 million.


I honestly can't imagine what compelled him to develop this return to Iceland low budget yawner unless it was just something burning inside that he just had to do. He is, after all not only the director but the writer, the producer and the star. This is his first filmed in Iceland since "Summerland" (2010).


Kormakur plays Dr finnur, a big time surgeon whose daughter Anna (Hera Hilmar) is a drug addict. Worse yet, she is the girlfriend of a drug pusher Ottar (Gisli Orn Gardarsson) who is feeding her the stuff.

The film opens with Anna in the hospital for an overdose and rejecting the treatments they are offering. Finnur is helpless as she is an adult making her own decisions; she goes back to Ottar despite her dad's please to stay away from him. Ottar flaunts his control over Anna in Finnur's face.


After several conflicts with Ottar, Finnur devises a plan to finally separate him from his daughter which he executes at a painfully slow segment of the film. Painfully slow, especially for something that is rather saddistic.


Finnur must concoct this scheme in between surgeries and patients and without letting on to Anna what he's up to. Meanwhile Ottar starts getting a bit physical when Finnur destroys a bunch of the product. Zzzzz. This thing need a bunch of help.


All of the characters are flat, one-dimensional figures that never give us a reason to care about them. Throughout the film you might be muttering to yourself "Who cares!" Because you won't. There is no real bond between Anna and Finnur to make you pull for his plan to work. Ottar is a run-of-the-mill drug dealer who you dislike if only because of his stupid arrogance.


The one good aspect of the film, as you might expect, was the magnificent cinematography. The Icelandic landscape is captured perfectly.


"The Oath" is a little less than mediocre partial thriller that covers no new ground save that it takes place in the picturesque frozen tundra of Iceland. Far too predictable and it covers no new ground.   -- GEOFF BURTON