Fantastic Fest – The Trip

By Naomi Roper

Lars (Aksel Hennie) and Lisa (Noomi Rapace) are married. He’s a director of TV soaps and she’s an actress. The bickering couple is off to Lars’ father’s cabin for a relaxing holiday together. Lars, however, is very keen to tell anyone that will listen all about Lisa’s very dangerous plan for their time together. Lisa is apparently dead set on going on a long hike. Alone. Lars is very worried. Yep so worried. After all, anything could happen to her. And don’t pay attention to any of this body disposal kit Lars is purchasing. That’s for, um, repairs to the cabin. That’s right.

So Lars is planning to kill Lisa and as he’s about to find out to his cost Lisa is planning to kill Lars. But Lisa and Lars are forced to work together when they find themselves facing an unexpected threat. 

The Trip is best described as The War of the Roses meets Home Alone with just a touch of Funny Games.  The movie is impossible to discuss without revealing any of the twists and turns director Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow 2) and writers Tommy Wirkola, John Niven and Nick Ball (and that’s a fascinating trio of writers!) have in store. At nearly 2 hours long it’s a touch too long but it’s sufficiently pacy for the run time not to be an issue.

It’s incredibly violent (both leads are repeatedly battered senseless throughout) and while that is deeply unpleasant to watch there is a slight Tom and Jerry style slapstick nature to the violence that prevents it from being unwatchable. It’s a fine line and there were only so many times I could see a man punching Noomi Rapace before wanting to take to the streets and seek vengeance but director Wirkola just about pulls it off. The deaths featured in the film are very creative. One shotgun death is intentionally hilarious and death by lawnmower is certainly inventive.  A second act scene of threatened sexual assault is deeply unpleasant and out of place with the tone of the rest of the film but at least it is brief.

Both Rapace and Hennie are superb as the bickering duo who must put aside their issues with one another. Rapace is a superb actress (even if she is the subject of my Prometheus themed Ted Talk “No women can’t run 60 seconds after having a caesarean what the fuck where you thinking Ridley Scott?) and after a string of rather serious films, it’s nice to see her having so much fun here. Lisa is clever, funny, utterly unfazed at her husband wanting to off her and above all else a survivor. Aksel Hennie (best known for his role in The Martian but do check him out in Headhunters) is great as Lars shifting from murderous to pathetic to heroic in the blink of an eye. Rapace and Hennie have really strong chemistry and it’s great watching them believably fall back in love with each other as the film progresses.

Very funny, mean spirited and exceptionally violent The Trip is an exercise in extreme couples therapy. 

The Trip had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest and is premiering on Netflix worldwide on October 15th