Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga
Directed by: David Dobkin
Written by: Will Ferrell and Andrew Steele
Starring: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Dan Stevens, Mikael Persbrandt, Pierce Brosnan
Reviewed by: Brad Williamson
Genre: Comedy / Musical
I’ll start this review with a note: I’m from the United States, live in South Korea, don’t know much about mainstream popular culture, and had never even heard of Eurovision until I watched this movie. Now then…
Aside from Lalaland, the opening scene of this film might be the most sensible, musically entertaining, and downright hilarious introduction to any movie in recent memory. It truly is a good, fun song, tells the viewer what they’re getting into, explains the characters, and I dare you not to laugh at least once while viewing. Whether you take the film seriously or not, the first 5 minutes is very well conceived and executed, and it sets up the movie to succeed. The only disappointment I had regarding this aspect of the movie is that you hear this particular song only once.
For a movie that, on the surface, seems so silly and ridiculous, the cast is quite strong. McAdams is amazing as always, Stevens is great at making you want to punch him in the face, and Brosnan is quite touching and powerful in his small role. And Ferrell doesn’t swing and miss in this one, equipped with an almost believable Icelandic accent and beautiful, flowing locks of golden hair, and quite impressive singing, he hits it out of the park for most of the film. He and McAdams have a really pleasant chemistry that feels natural, and he is unabashedly in character.
The film does lag a bit in the middle, but don’t give up on it, because the final 45 minutes is genuinely good, equal parts funny, emotional, and (almost) believable.
Still, as a critic and film lover, this is the type of film that gives me pause when I go to actually score it. Do I take into account that it wasn’t trying to be a masterpiece? Do I care about the genre? If these are valid considerations, how much should they go into critically judging the film? I will say this much: I believe the film was a genuinely good biopic that is going to be misunderstood by a lot of people.
All in all, I recommend this film to just about everyone. It’s a much better comedy than the majority of films trying to be funny these days, has good acting, a sincere story, and is quirky as the event it’s chronicling. Probably one of the 3 or 4 best English-language movies Netflix has put out to date.