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Norway’s `Junk Mail’ delivers undeniable charm

SHARE Norway’s `Junk Mail’ delivers undeniable charm

The job of mail carrier has never been treated as glamorous by the movies, but "Junk Mail" could set postal recruiting back years.

In fact, even the pathological liar Cliff Clavin, the postman on TV's "Cheers," looks downright appealing in comparisons with this film's crew of unwashed, unmotivated, drug-using mail deliverers.That said, this oddball Norwegian dark comedy-thriller has an undeniable charm and is almost impossible to turn away from, even as it dares you to care about its unredeemable - and ultimately unredeemed - main character.

That would be Roy (Robert Skjaerstad), who may be the worst (and grimiest) of the lot. Distanced from or perhaps disgusted by his co-workers, Roy spends his days reading other people's letters, or dumping mail in a hiding place without ever attempting to deliver it.

About the only person he seems to care for is Line (Andrine Saether), a hearing-impaired dry cleaner who doesn't even know he exists.

When Roy finds the woman's keys while "performing" his rounds, he decides to check out her apartment. But he also discovers her secret - that she was involved in a brutal robbery, and a security guard is near death.

That prompts Roy to begin a futile effort to cover up Line's participation in the crime, while attempting to court her with information gained by snooping through her home.

Admittedly, this premise doesn't sound too promising, but screen-writer/director Pal Sletaune plays the scenes out in a perversely humorous manner. Almost nothing is treated seriously here, not even a series of violent beatings endured by the lead character.

Even more startling is the cast being made up of extremely talented newcomers, led by Skjaerstad, who bears an eerie resemblance to similarly grimy British character actor Tim Roth, and Saether, who's extremely convincing.

"Junk Mail" is not rated but would probably receive an R for violent fist fighting, profanity, full female nudity, vulgar references and lewd dancing, sex and brief drug use.