“If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it is also within my power to take a life”. Hippocratic Oath.
Baltasar Kormakur accomplishes a remarkable feat of directing himself in this stunning thriller set in the frigid, gloriously pristine landscape of Reykjavik, Iceland; “Finnur” (Kormakur) a renown heart surgeon, has a seemingly perfect life, blessed with a beautiful wife and daughter, notable skills, competitive cyclist; he also has a grown daughter from a previous marriage, “Anna” (empathetic performance by Hera Hilmar) whose lifestyle causes chaos, a wrench in Finnur’s flawless, controlled existence; Finnur’s love for Anna is palpable. Anna’s heart belongs to “Ottar” (magnificent, Gisli Orn Garoarsson) a scoundrel, drug-dealing miscreant, living on the edge and supplying illegal substances to Anna.
When threats become lethal, the action’s pulse accelerates with Finnur’s decisive plan to eliminate Ottar from Anna’s life. Reminiscent of Liam Nessons’s “Taken” films, but more focused on the dynamics between the hostage and his captor; “The Oath” pulsates with the doctor’s power to preserve or shun the oath that has defined his life.
Iceland, and its beautiful but threatening terrain, is the venue for the recent television show (Amazon Prime) “Fortitude” and last year’s poignant film “Heartstone”; sparsely populated, minus minutia, minimal distractions keep the viewer cemented to every enthralling scene; there’s purity and refinement in the cold, calculated, taunt filmmaking.
A daunting, haunting movie, “The Oath” allows flexibility in its moral complexities.