The Oath


Contemporary World Cinema | 2016 | 110 minutes

Stranger Says:

After a sojourn in Hollywood, actor-director Baltasar Kormákur returns to Reykjavík for this minor-key thriller. Finnur, a surgeon, has a beautiful wife and two beautiful daughters. After Anna (Hera Hilmar), the oldest child, takes up with sneering drug dealer Ottar, she drops out of college. When it becomes clear that she’ll never leave the bastard, Finnur takes matters into his own hands by bribing and then kidnapping him. The title comes from the Hippocratic oath “do no harm,” but you best believe harm ensues as the dad becomes as much of a lawbreaker as the boyfriend.

SIFF Says:

Blinded by new love and a burgeoning habit of “powdering her nose,” Anna’s dropped out of college, is unemployed, and continues to rely on her father to help her keep her head above water. Her father, Finnur, a wealthy cardiac surgeon recently remarried with another school-aged young daughter, is hit with a wave of realization after his own father passes away―he needs to up his parenting game and step in before Anna’s life spirals out of control. Her new boyfriend, Ottar, is obviously a bad influence, surrounding her with shady drug dealers and keeping her out all hours of the night. When Anna calls Finnur in a drug-induced hysteria, he decides he has to get Ottar to leave her alone for good―at any cost. But calling the cops to their apartment does nothing but get a large stash of Ottar’s drugs confiscated, and soon Finnur is violently confronted with the task of repaying his daughter’s boyfriend back the huge sum of money, or he’ll continue to hurt his family. The tension and threats between Ottar and Finnur escalate to terrifying heights before eventually exploding in a violent and bloody conclusion. This gritty high-stakes thriller by Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur (Everest, 2 Guns) also stars him as Finnur; stylistically taut and glossy, it makes excellent use of the dramatic Icelandic landscapes.

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Film Credits
Baltasar Kormakur
Hera Hilmar, Baltasar Kormákur, Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson
SIFF 2017