(based on the book by Dag Solstad):
the communist party AKP-ML, the delightful style and peculiarities of
the 70s, Norwegian small-town life (and on top of that, Larvik), and the
not inconsiderable literary talent of Dag Solstad, Hans Petter Moland
should have had every possibility of turning this novel into a fairly
good movie. Unfortunately, Gymnaslærer Pedersen is filled with
disappointing craftsmanship both when it comes to writing and directing.
Moland directs with an inconsistent sense of pacing. The film
erupts unpredictably and unrhythmically, and character motivation is
never discussed or taken into account.
a superficial level, Gymnaslærer Pedersen is interesting. It is
nice to see some "old shots" of Larvik, although there hasn't
been enough resources involved in the project to be able to recreate the
70s more than semi-vividly. For people who were politically active in
the 70s, the film should be interesting, but most likely also annoying,
because the communist movement is given an unnecessary satirical
recycling - especially when one takes into account that the film is
rarely humorous - and ultimately tragic. Kristoffer Joner is a good
actor, but he never manages to get any real spirit into the title character
here. And as for Ane Dahl Torp, she does an inspired job, but is
ultimately let down by the film. Her character is used as an outlet for
mockery, before Moland suddenly tries to squeeze some dramatic effect
and poignancy out of her. That is unfair and ineffective, and those two
words largely sum up this inept picture.