A big hit in its homeland of Iceland, The Last Fishing Trip is a comedy goldmine from writers/directors Örn Marino Arnarson and Thorkell S. Hardarson. While the absurdist nature of this Scandinavian comedy may be lost on some audiences, the film’s simple premise provides several avenues for the humour to flourish.
The film revolves around an annual fishing trip is shared between six middle-aged (and older) men. The first act splits the men into pairs before they all meet at the fishing spot. Choosing to structure its character study this way successfully establishes the dynamics of each friendship while subtly raising the class inequality between them, which is why they don’t travel together.
We learn more about each character, and all six as a group, the more alcohol is consumed. The drunken shenanigans take strange and unexpected turns while driving humour of this expertly paced film. As cracks in some friendships begin to form, the film impressively maintains a light-hearted attitude throughout.
The Last Fishing Trip is an impressive debut feature from Arnarson and Hardarson. There are no surprises narratively speaking, and there doesn’t need to be. The bizarre comedic beats effortlessly allow the character study at the film’s core to remain consistently engaging.