Halla is a fifty-year-old independent woman. But behind the scenes of a quiet routine, she leads a double life as a passionate environmental activist. Known to others only by her alias "The Woman of the Mountain," Halla secretly wages a one-woman-war on the local aluminum industry. As Halla's actions grow bolder, from petty vandalism to outright industrial sabotage, she succeeds in pausing the negotiations between the Icelandic government and the corporation building a new aluminum smelter in the mountains. But right as she begins planning her biggest and boldest operation yet, she receives an unexpected letter that changes everything. Her application to adopt a child has finally been accepted and there is a little girl waiting for her in Ukraine. As Halla prepares to abandon her role as saboteur and savior of the Highlands to fulfill her dream of becoming a mother, she decides to plot one final attack to deal the aluminum industry a crippling blow.Written by
When Halla is driving and that the band is playing, their music is lowered as if it was heard from the inside of her vehicle. See more »
[All goofs for this title are spoilers.]
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It's extremism, which breeds extremism. He who Jives by the sword, dies by the sword.
But no one has been hurt, except our country and our planet.
It's not the right way to solve this problem.
Meditating in some convent, will that change something?
It will change me and thus the world I hope.
Isn't that egoism, to think it will change the world?
The drop hollows the stone.
The stone? The mountains are falling on us, we don't have time to wait for drops.
Now you're going to save a ...
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A total pleasure to watch: engaging, serious, eccentric, and fun.
Halla (played by Halldora Geirhardsdottir), a middle-aged Icelandic woman leading a seemingly ordinary life, is secretly a fierce eco-warrior. Staying completely off the radar, she conducts lone daring missions of sabotage against a big industrial plant that is endangering the environment of her region and her entire country. Her weapons of choice are small-scale explosives, and bow and arrows. The bare bones of this plot sound like just the sort of thing for a Hollywood action film, but Woman at War is stylistically so different, so NOT Hollywood that it inhabits practically a different universe. And it's all the better for that. We care about what's going on on the screen, and about the protagonist Halla, far more here than we ever would for things like Mission Impossible or Fast and Furious or the Bond films or a dozen other franchises like them which are basically just eye candy.
There actually aren't that many true 'action' scenes: most of the screen time is devoted to interactions among the relatively small cast of characters, and some slow-burn suspense. Will Halla keep successfully evading the authorities who are ramping up their search for the saboteur? After all, Iceland is a pretty small country. Her motivation for what she's doing also would not cut very deep unless we had a well rounded picture of her life and the deep connection of her fellow Icelanders with their own land. Her sister Asa (played by the same actress -- and the scenes where Asa and Halla are both on screen are seamlessly done) comes in and out of the story, as does cousin Sveinbjorn (Johann Sigurdarson), a farmer who helps Halla at critical moments. Halla is thrown a major curve when her hoped-for chance to adopt a little orphan girl from Eastern Europe come up suddenly: does she change the course of her life to take it, or let it go and continue her profoundly risky guerilla war? There are also genuinely surprising twists -- essentially bits of luck and timing -- that make us realize that every bit of the backstory and setup in the first half of the movie was put there for a reason.
There are loads of engaging details from beginning to end. In one scene Halla is being hunted by a police drone seeking for her in the countryside near the industrial plant. She shoots it down with her bow and arrow and then stomps it to pieces. (Who wouldn't like to do that with those annoying things, just once?) The oddest touch of all, though, has to do with the music. The edgy background music is played by a small band of musicians who are sometimes actually on screen, standing just to the side of the action -- on roadsides, on city streets, by airport parking lots. Their onscreen presence usually takes place at critical junction points in the story. This eccentric touch takes a further step into the truly surreal when at times Halla actually notices them (!) as if she has stepped outside her own role.
All in all, it's very much worth seeing. A whole lot of Hollywood studio suits who are only after your money could learn from far more genuine films like this one.
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