Turn me on, Dammit!
If there's one Norwegian teen movie you'll see this year…etc. Reversing the roles of teen movie tropes – it's the girls that are gagging for it here – Turn Me On, Dammit works hard to set itself out from the herd but then succumbs to an easy climax. Pun intended.
Growing up in the boring Norwegian town of Skoddeheimen, hot to trot 15-year-old Alma (Bergsholm) amuses herself by retreating into fantasies of the sordid nature, imagining the hunky classmate Artur (Myren) climbing in through her bedroom window and skilfully seducing her. At a party at the youth centre, Artur pokes Alma's hip with his willy but when she regales her friends with the story, bitchy Ingrid (Stofring), who has a thing for Artur and who Alma also fantasises about, spreads the story around school...
The setup is excellent. Introducing us to her hometown with the spiked narration that only an irritated and bored teenage girl can deliver, we first see the narrator writhing on the kitchen floor in sexual abandon with a phone clasped to her ear; in a clever reversal, she's listening to Stig's phone sex line and has been such an avid user she and the never-seen Stig have something approaching a friendship. It's an unexpected opening that shows the viewer that they're going to be watching something off kilter. With an unreliable narrator, Jannicke Systad Jacobsen places doubt in our heads that Alma is telling the truth about the penis-poking situation, which keeps the audience guessing throughout.
While the director is on the money when going about Alma's ostracism (even the toddlers bouncing on the trampoline on her way home call her ‘Dick-Alma'), she's less than convincing when it comes to the inevitable turnaround. When Alma grows up and realises Skoddeheimen is actually okay, her mum doesn't hate her and willy-wagger Artur isn't all that, it happens with little or no revelation. 76 minutes is short for a movie and while it's neat and tidy, Jacobsen had time to mess about. It's not often you can say this: the movie could have been longer.
With a belter of a soundtrack and an oddball sense of humour, Turn Me On, Dammit is fun.
Review by Gavin Burke | 11:42 | Thursday 11th October 2012 | Movie Review