Movie review – Sigur Ros: Inni
Dir. Vincent Morriset
If I say “Iceland,” what do you think of? Rolling green landscapes? A football team ranked 16th in the world by FIFA? Dare I say, Þorramatur? All of that is fine and well and Icelandic, but if you immediately thought of Sigur Ros, then you’re my new best friend.
Sigur Ros – Icelandic for “Victory Rose” – is a post-rock band that was formed in 1994. They are known for their ethereal style that utilizes atmospheric guitar soundscapes and frontman Jonsi Birgisson’s falsetto vocals. Their first album dropped in 1997, and they haven’t looked back since. Sigur Ros has been topping charts in the UK and North America. They’ve played at venues the world over, and none of their five studio albums has gone less than gold.
And you thought nothing good ever happened in Iceland.
Inni represents the last outing of the band before the hiatus they took in January 2010. The concert was filmed and recorded at the Alexandra Palace in North London, England. Rather than debuting new material, Inni is a retrospective look at Sigur Ros’ extensive song catalogue. The 75-minute concert has songs from all of the band’s five albums, but focuses heavily on the last release up to that point, 2008’s Med Sud in Eyrum vid Spilum Endelaus.
The concert footage was directed by Canadian Vincent Morisset, who you may or may not recognize as the director of Miroir Noir, a 2008 rockumentary about Quebec band Arcade Fire’s album release tour in 2007. Inni was shot entirely on black and white film stock, which lends itself perfectly to the expansive, melodic rock of Sigur Ros. In an interesting cinematographic decision, certain portions of the concert footage were then projected and the image reshot. The resulting imagery is grainy, dark, and unstable, but never out of focus.
Those who are new to the music of Sigur Ros will get immeasurable joy from discovering this Icelandic rock gem. But for long-time fans, Inni is almost a disappointment. Sure, the band sounds tight as hell, and the cinematography is top-notch, but as previously mentioned, there is a significant lack of fresh material. The band closes their set with the first single from their new album, which is scheduled to drop this year, and the concert seems to be a build-up to the great unveiling of this one bit of new material. It works, but I think Sigur Ros fans expected more.
But despite all this, Vincent Morisset has carved out a new filmmaking niche: the arthouse rockumentary. If this is where the concert film is headed, then I’m fully on board.