Click here to return to the main site.

Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Under the Tree (2017)
(Blu-Ray & DVD Dual Format)


Starring: Steinþór Hróar and Steinþórsson
Distributor: Eureka Entertainment
RRP: £TBC (Blu-Ray & DVD Dual Format)
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 14 January 2019

When Atli is caught, by his wife, watching an intimate video he had made with a previous partner she throws him out of the house. He moves in with his parents, Inga and Baldvin, only to discover that they are in a dispute, with their neighbours, Konrad and Eybjorg, over their sycamore tree which casts its shadow on the neighbour’s garden...

Under the Tree (2017. 1 hr, 28 min, 50 sec) is a multi-award winning ultra-dark Icelandic comedy, written and directed by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson.

Comedy is a personal thing, so while many may see a dark comedy, I thought that the film was quite disturbing in several ways. The titular tree becomes a symbol of problems which ordinary people have allowed to grow until the shadow of those problems blot out the light in their lives, leading them to behave in extraordinary ways.

Atli (Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson) moves back with his parents Inga (Edda Björgvinsdóttir) and Baldvin (Sigurður Sigurjónsson). His mother has turned into a bitter woman, never having dealt with Atli’s missing brother.

In her bitterness she lashes out at the world and especially her neighbours Konrad (Þorsteinn Bachmann) and Eybjorg (Selma Björnsdóttir). She has turned to drink and as the film progresses you get the feeling that through her grief, she has gone more than a little insane.

She resents Eybjorg and that starts out as sneering and taunting but soon turns much darker as events unfold and everyone is sucked into her madness. It would spoil the film to say how things escalate between the neighbours, except to say that events become increasingly deadlier.

Atli is having his own personal dysregulation. Rather than give his wife, Agnes (Lára Jóhanna Jónsdóttir) some room, he takes his child out of school and harasses her at work and in the street. This is an example of the film's other theme, the destructive nature of obsession.

The film comes as a dual package of DVD and Blu-ray. There is one significant feature on the disc, the Making of Under the Tree which mixes a studio bound interview, mixed with an interview from the director and behind the scenes shots of the film being made. You also get the original theatrical trailer (1 min, 46 sec).

It’s not always an easy film to watch, but the acting is top notch as the actors take you from suburban dispute to the depths of madness.


Charles Packer

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.

Blu-ray & DVD