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‘Godland’ Review: Almighty Iceland Puts a Weak Danish Priest’s Faith to the Test

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variety.com

Peter Debruge Chief Film CriticIceland is like no other place on Earth, and the films that take place there can’t help but reflect this.

In “Godland,” Icelandic writer-director Hlynur Pálmason attempts to see his homeland through outside eyes, the way it must have looked to the Danes who claimed and controlled it until World War II.

Icelandic period pieces are often set much earlier, à la “The Northman,” but this one — at once visually striking and emotionally austere, in its almost Bressonian restraint — takes the country’s colonialist past as its subject, pitting a late-19th-century man of faith against a force far stronger than him, like some kind of Arctic, art-house “There Will Be Blood.”In the opening scene Lucas (Elliott Crosset Hove), a Lutheran priest, is sent by the Church of Denmark to establish a parish in Iceland, not at all prepared for what lies ahead.

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