“The Lutefisk Wars”
Hot plates, Norwegian mafia feuds and fish combine in the hilarious film “The Lutefisk Wars,” written and directed by David E. Hall and Christopher Panneck, showing at the Sonoma International Film Festival.
The silly cinematic experience takes audiences deep into rural North Dakota (dontcha know) where an unsuspecting amateur cook finds himself in the middle of a centuries-old feud between warring sides of the Norwegian mafia. Norway has a mafia? As the film notes, “Like most Norwegians, they like to keep a low profile.”
The oddities begin when a strange man knocks on frozen food deliveryman Karl Larsen’s (Stewart Skelton) door and promptly dies in his kitchen. Soon Larsen, his fiancée and the entire town of Newford, N.D., is entrenched in a heated mafia dispute over an ancient recipe for Lutefisk, a popular Norwegian dish made from fish soaked in lye. Yum.
The film, made in a mockumentary style, invokes obvious comparisons to the hit Coen Brothers film “Fargo,” another mystery set in North Dakota. While the film is not quite as clever, it des offer strong performances from a cast stellar at portraying no-nonsense Midwesterners. Joel McCrary is particularly genius as Brother Cousin Louie, a Lutheran monk with an affinity for artfully decorated taxidermy.
The writing is solid, with giggle-inducing lines like:
While the cinematography can seem amateurish at times, especially in the historical reenactments, it fits the tongue-in-cheek style of the film.
Find tickets, show times and more details at www.sonomafilmfest.org.
When not writing for the Index-Tribune, Emily Charrier-Botts is most often found watching movies. She has been creating her own movies since she was in high school and briefly flirted with the idea of film school before realizing L.A. was not her scene. She settled on a minor in film and a career that involves watching movies.