The entire world has been affected by the economic collapse of 2008. Jon Gnarr of Rekjavik, capitol of Iceland, feels his city is the perfect example of both ends of the collapse. One day everyone was riding the wave and the next, even the earth was showing the depths of its despair, spewing smoke into the skies. So Jon and his friends formed a new political party in hopes they could shine a light on what is wrong with their country’s politicians. Oh, did I mention that Jon is one of Iceland’s premiere comedians?
Running for Mayor on the ticket of his brainchild, The Best Party, Jon Gnarr stood fastidious on the issues of: getting a Polar Bear for the Reykjavik zoo, Disneyland in Vatnsmyri, a drug free Parliament by 2020, sustainable transparency, celebrating all types of good things and the refusal to talk to any opposition that has not seen and liked all five seasons of “The Wire.” His campaign song was even a list of these and other policies sung by he and his party to the tune of Tina Turner’s, “Simply The Best.”
The documentary follows Gnarr and his party (which includes Einar Örn Benediktsson, a former member of The Sugarcubes; the band Bjork was in before she was Bjork) from the start of the party’s formation to election night. The whole thing started as a joke that really was meant to expose how ridiculous politicians and extreme political parties are. When asked why he was running for Mayor, Gnarr’s response was , “I think it is time I have a high paying job where the people work for me.” When it turned out they were getting solid support, things changed. Day to day more and more people were getting behind The Best Party and the major political players not only had to worry about Gnarr and his cohorts, they had to sit next to him during speeches and debates. Many of which he walked out on due to boredom and when he did speak, he ranted about his love and knowledge of Moomin elves and how he knows they really exist.
Whether or not you have any actual interest in politics or Iceland, “Gnarr” is still a fine watch as Jon Gnarr is a genuinely funny man, making this arguably the funniest documentary ever that was not a mock documentary. The only real problem with the film is that it really is only a pure documentation of the events. There are some clips of Jon’s career work that appear early on in the film so you can get an idea of who this man is, otherwise there is no real story exploited. Yes, it is a tale of triumph and can maybe change the system for other places around the world, but no effects of the party’s popularity are shown past any election victories or on the system as a whole now that the major parties that have been running the city for so long are not the big players anymore. While that was never the intent of the documentary, one obviously still wonders.
“Gnarr” is a one of a kind movie about a one of a kind guy. Whether or not you ever take him seriously or not, he is obviously a man who was worried about his country and wanted to make a difference. If you are able to put aside your personal political beliefs and ideals you are in for a treat. If you are not, you should watch “Gnarr” to witness the possibility of what is coming to change your life.
Single Ticket sales for the general public start April 18th. Here is a link to the “Gnarr” page at Tribeca complete with showtimes.