The camera captures everything
Kristoffer is a good guy, though a bit trapped in his adolescence, as evidenced by his obsession with filming "Jackass"-like stunts with his pals Geir, a carefree goofball, and Stig Inge, an agoraphobic web designer. Because of this arrested development, when his girlfriend Elisabeth offers him the spare keys to her apartment, he's afraid the relationship is getting too serious, and as a result, he considers sabotaging it. To his dismay though, he's too late. She's already moving on.
The plot gets going when Kristoffer's video tapes make their way into the hands of one of Norway's newest TV stars, who put them on the air, making the threesome reality TV stars overnight. What they realize quickly though, is when you go before the camera, you can reveal more of yourself than you want to. When that happens to Geir and Stig Inge, it's more than their friendship can handle. Whether he can fix things though, while working out his romantic entanglements, including an infatuation with the guys' adorable roommate, Henriette.
Though the plot isn't exactly groundbreaking, and the ending is rather predictable and pedestrian, the whole story is handled in a way that takes it beyond all the rest of the boy-meets-girl-then-loses-girl drek that fills multiplexes. There are several serious plot points, the kind that are never seen in similar American films, but they aren't played for shock or punctuation. They are simply a part of the story. When a movie can swing from goofy stunts to parental strife to mental breakdown, without stuttering, it's the sign of a quality production.
As Kristoff, Nicolai Cleve Broch has the same good-guy persona that Chris Klein made work in the much less authentic American Pie. With his open-book face and charm, it's easy to believe that he's actually concerned about his friends, even if he doesn't make the right decisions for their well-being. Director Morten Tyldum, a veteran of commercial shoots, is similarly good, keeping the camera work unobtrusive, putting the focus on the acting and story, and not the technique. Only when Stig Igne's mental problems take hold does Tyldum break out the visual effects. It's an understated look for an understated story, and that works.
The cover, a two-sided effort, takes advantage of the see-through case, with a review excerpt on the inside. Menus are also formatted to the series, with the main screen animated simply with footage from the film. Options include play, scene access, set up, special features, the short film and an info screen for Film Movement. The scene selection menus feature still previews and titles for each screen, while the set up allows you to turn the English subtitles on and off. There is no insert included, but the film does have closed captioning.
Buddy looks very natural, with an earth tone palette that makes the film look "older" than it is. The video, presented in anamorphic widescreen, is quite good, though there's a softness to the image that seems to be from the source material, and not a problem in the transfer. There's not much in the way of sharp detail, but the clarity of the image is fine. The film seems a bit dark overall, but the transfer keeps pace, with solid blacks and very good skin tones. There's no obvious dirt or damage and the amount of grain is minimal.
The Bottom Line