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In Nói’s first scene, the title character opens his front door to a 5-foot wall of snow. Nói (Tómas Lemarquis) and his grandmother, Lína (Anna Fridriksdóttir), dispatch the drift by shoveling it away and melting it by the bucketful in the kitchen sink. It’s clear that this is nothing unusual, but for Nói, the snow at the door is emblematic of his condition: Although he does what he can, he’s snowed in. Seventeen years old, Nói is mentally gifted, bored with school, and underwhelmed with his prospects in his Icelandic hometown. “Look at Iceland; it looks like a spit,” he tells the lovely Iris (Elín Hansdóttir), who has just arrived from “the city,” not long before the pair agree to embark for lush Hawaii. With his striking eyes and completely shaved head, Lemarquis does an excellent job of leavening his character’s teenage frustration with vulnerability, especially when Nói courts Iris or hangs out with his Elvis-loving slacker of a father, Kiddi (Thröstur Leó Gunnarsson). During one drunken conversation, Kiddi advises, “You pick the most beautiful babe and ask her if she has put on weight—she won’t leave you alone until you’ve slept with her,” then lets fly that Nói may have been a side effect of applying this method to the local ladies. Writer-director Dagur Kári’s largely uneventful (well, excluding the final 10 minutes) script treats the teen’s melancholy sensitively and incorporates some satisfyingly deadpan humor: Aki Kaurismäki is a likely influence on scenes involving blood pudding, Lína’s aerobics, and a karaoke version of “In the Ghetto” (first line: “As the snow falls…”). Cinematographer Rasmus Videbæk’s exquisitely stark exterior images, meanwhile, pack the screen with drifting and menacing snow, and the interior shots are carefully composed and suitably dismal. So is, in fact, Nói’s slyly foreshadowed final cataclysm—dismal enough to dash what little hope our melancholic little hero might have had. But then again, by the time that big blow falls, you already know he’s not going anywhere. —Matthew Summers-Sparks