Hans Petter Moland’s Aberdeen is a strangely lyrical film, an evocative tale of addiction and familial disconnect that takes a young coke-fiend attorney, Kaisa (Lena Headey), and her estranged alcoholic father, Thomas (Stellan Skarsgård), on a car trip from Norway to England. Kaisa’s mother Helen (Charlotte Rampling) asks that she bring Thomas to Aberdeen. She claims that he’s ready for rehab when, in actuality, she’s dying of cancer and hopes to bring the daughter and father together before her death. Moland evokes human distance via the film’s ravishing, lonesome Nordic vistas and England’s hazy countrysides. Kaisa and Thomas grow close despite the pent-up emotional queasiness, projectile vomiting and the possibility that they may not be genetically related. Though Helen remains a cipher throughout, a truck driver (Ian Hart) arrives just in time to enrich her story—allowing for the possibility of romantic love. Wickedly amusing, never cloying and genuinely earnest, Aberdeen is almost other-worldly, a divine reminder that one must work for love.
Aberdeen’s original 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen is preserved by First Run Features on this DVD edition of the film. Philip Ogaard’s cinematography still haunts but the film’s hazy hues are made splotchy by an uneven transfer. The disc’s audio is serviceable, with no pops or hisses evidenced throughout.
Cast and crew biographies, the original theatrical trailer, and an excellent, albeit brief, interview with Hans Petter Moland. The director goes on about his Norwegian sensibility and the geographical anthropology he brings to his work. He readily admits that his worldview limits what work he can do but who cares if Hollywood doesn’t call as long as someone allows him to make personal works like this?
A splendid package from First Run Features for a little-seen gem perhaps best savored on a rainy, meditative day.