Most people don’t prepare for a vacation with their spouses buying a hammer, a hacksaw, duct tape, and rope, but Lars (Axel Henney) isn’t most people, and director Tommy Wirkola’s Ride isn’t most films. … His initial premise is this: Lars planned to kill his wife Lisa (Noomi Rapace) during their vacation, but is thwarted when it is revealed that Lisa was preparing to end him on the same trip. Unfortunately, while the concept promises a fun and fluid thriller, The Ride too quickly turns into a youthful nihilistic mess.
Lars and Lisa’s mutual bloodbath turns into a group romance when unexpected outsiders, including escaped convicts Dave (Christian Rubek), Roy (Andre Eriksen) and Petter (Atle Antonsen), accidentally join the fray. Each actor is courageous in dealing with the ensuing violence and emotional instability, and Rapace is particularly good at dealing with it. The film reveals many surprises thanks to flashbacks, edgy editing and an absurd script clearly aimed at irreverence.
But The Journey strikes its own delicate balance of darkness and joke by clinging to tawdry material about genitals and poop, even though its underlying premise is much smarter – and downright adorable – on its own. This ingenuousness turns what could have been a fast and fun movie into a tedious job. Towards the end of a long series of rape attempts, I was dismayed to find that I had passed only half of its two-hour duration.
The Journey is sometimes funny, but in other films, screaming blood and psychological torture are handled much more skillfully. The film pays homage to Gay Games by Michael Haneke, a witty commentary on cinematic violence. He is not doing himself any favors by inviting this comparison.
Not rated. In Norwegian with subtitles. The duration of the performance is 1 hour 53 minutes. Watch on Netflix.