Børning (2014) [Fantasia Film Festival]



Roy is a racing enthusiast who takes it a step too far and crashes his car with his pregnant girlfriend on board. As his child makes her debut in the world, he is taken to jail for his illegal street racing. Fast forward about a decade and a half, Roy now run a car-part/repair shop called Stallion Parts and obsesses over his yellow Mustang. His daughter Nina comes to spend time with dad as her mother and family go on holiday. As Nina tries and tries to get to her father, to get to know him and build a relationship, he prepares for a big race and mostly ignores her, even forgetting she’s there at times. On race day, Nina tries one more time to get his attention, but to no avail. She then decides to mess with is car in revenge causing him to lose the race. TT, Roy’s car racing arch nemesis since the start of his passion, sees this as a perfect taunt opportunity and the two decide to race across the length of Norway to finally decide who the best driver is.

Børning is a race movie, but also a story about a long separated father and daughter reconnecting and becoming closer through their love of cars and racing. It’s a film as much about their interpersonal relationship as it is about cars and this gives it more meaning as opposed to most car-racing movies that give more time to the cars and stunts than to the characters. As such, the script, by Linn-Jeanethe Kyed based on a story by Christopher Grøndahl and an idea by Director Hallvard Braein, develops believable characters put into a world that does exist and gives them situations that, while a big exaggerated, feel real. The characters are built to be closer to real people than those often seen in car-centric films. The story has a way of pulling the viewer in by making them care about the leads, Roy and Nina, and about the supporting characters who help them along the way, such as Nybakken and his buddy Doffen who bring a lot of humor to the situation.

The actors chosen for each of these parts are fantastic. In the part of Roy is Anders Baasmo Christiansen who carries most of the movie with the help of Ida Husøy as Nina. The two of them have a definite father-daughter chemistry which builds throughout the film as their characters become closer. In the supporting roles, one actor shines and makes his character one of the most fun ones and easiest to love even though he may or may not be dying, that actor is Otto Jespersen as Nybakken. His sense of timing is almost everything for this part, adding humor, albeit dark humor most of the time, to a movie that could have been very serious. Jespersen is familiar to horror fans as he starred as the title character in Trollhunter. In another funny part, but because of his character’s obsession with catching Roy and not for his sense of humor, is Henrik Mastad as Phillip Mork, a dedicated crime fighter who gets in Roy’s way to winning the race across Norway while trying to finally get him. Mestad plays the part completely seriously, adding his touch to the story and often times turning out funny by just being so serious.

Another important part of a car racing movie are the cars themselves. Here the lead drives a yellow Mustand which is meticulously maintained. While the lead and his friends drive American muscle cars that will please, or make jealous, the more classic car lovers out there, the other side of the coin racing is also represented by Roy’s nemesis TT (which sometimes stands for turbo) and his more modern, modified car. He and his buddies represent the car-mod fans out there. Of course, this may cause some friction between lovers of each type of cars as the muscle cars are mainly on the “good” side and the modified modern cars are mainly on the “bad” side of the story. However, it might not mean anything in the grand scheme of things other than all kinds of cars is presented here since a few of each are on the opposite side as well.

Børning is a fun, entertaining movie with more to it than meets the eye. It’s a film for car fans and film fans, as it isn’t just about the cars and eye candy, it’s about family and human relations, about what is important in one’s life. The film can be used as a way to learn a lesson, yet it doesn’t hit the viewer over the head with its teachings. It deserves attention and this reviewer can’t wait for the announced sequel.