The 2022 Norwegian film “Troll” follows a paleontologist, a military officer, a government official and a fairytale enthusiast on a quest to find the culprit of a series of “natural” destructive events occuring in Norway. Originally in Norwegian but dubbed in English, it is a film packed with action and suspense to comedy, fear and sorrow. Themes of familial relationships, loneliness and perseverance exist throughout, keeping the viewer engaged in different ways.
The movie begins with the arrival at one of the disaster sites, and the paleontologist and protagonist Nora Tidermann examines the footprints left in the disaster’s wake. The team is puzzled, and Tidermann reluctantly decides to consult her father, who has extensive knowledge about trolls. The viewer quickly realizes that Tidermann and her father, Tobias, are not on the best of terms. Tobias’ intense preoccupation with trolls has pushed his daughter away. Nevertheless, Tobias joins the mission. The team eventually finds the culprit, a 150-foot mountain troll, supposedly the last of its kind. Military efforts to kill it are unsuccessful and become more frantic as the giant approaches Norway’s capital, Oslo. The prime minister evacuates the city, planning to use missiles to kill it. Tidermann and her team hijack the government’s efforts and find the troll first. In the last scene, Tidermann pleads to the troll to go back to the mountains where he is safe, but he perishes before he can do so.
Although the second half of “Troll” is packed with action and destruction, that is not the focal point of the movie. There are other important emotional aspects to the film. Tidermann eventually understands her father’s obsession with trolls, and the government official quits his job where he was unappreciated. There is a scene where the troll cradles the skull of one of his ancestors, crying out in mourning for the relatives he’s lost and his subsequent loneliness. Tiedemann and the government official watch, stunned at this supposed monster’s act of humanity. It’s the moment where Tidermann begins to finally understand the troll, and through it, her father.
The last scene in the film is the most pivotal. The team use bright lights to temporarily stun the troll, yet they quickly discover that they’re more dangerous than originally thought. The troll slowly starts to die, so Tidermann quickly shuts off the lights. She stands at the troll’s feet, pleading for it to go back to the mountains where it is safe. The troll listens, as if it understands, looking at Tidermann with hopeful eyes. It is at that moment that the sun begins to rise, and the Troll dies and turns into a giant rock formation. This scene is emotionally taxing, as the viewer is led to believe that the troll will be safe once again.
The cinematography of the film adds to its wonder. The troll looks very real – a conglomeration of stone, leaves, moss and other elements of the earth. Specifically occurring in the Dovre mountains in Norway, the scenery is beautiful. The camera pans over the mountain landscape, the valleys, and towns tucked between forests.
“Troll” is rated PG-13 and is available to watch with a Netflix subscription.