Check out this movie review of Sick of Myself by Jack Schenker. The film is in theaters now. Seen it? Join the conversation with HtN on our Letterboxd Page.)
Kristoffer Borgli has simultaneously created the funniest and most horrifying film of the year with Sick of Myself. This film is not for everyone, in fact, few people will enjoy it as I did. It has a particular type of self-deprecating and satirical humor that happens to be mine, it is also pure body horror via Cronenberg. The film somehow borders the line between completely unwatchable and compulsively watchable. It is not overbearing with its messaging, but it has some of the grossest sequences I have seen.
The film follows the unhealthy and competitive relationship of Signe (Kristine Kujath Thorp) and Thomas (Erik Saether). When Thomas breaks through as a modern artist and becomes a bit of a celebrity, Signe becomes very jealous. In an attempt to gain attention, she takes a Russian pill that is known to cause a rare and incurable skin disease. As the disease progresses she not only garners sympathy from Thomas, she becomes a celebrity herself. It is a very unique plot line that constantly fascinated me. Whether that bill intrigues you or not is the extent to which I would recommend it. It is truly as disgusting as it sounds, but also, for the freaks like me, it is just as funny as it sounds. If you thought Renate Reinsve’s character in The Worst Person in the World was bad, just wait until you meet Signe, maybe the single most unbearable protagonist to ever bless a comedy.
Borgli’s commentary on the extent people will go to become famous is not particularly revolutionary, but it is nice to see a comedy with something on its mind. This is not just a mindless, disgusting affair, Borgli makes his character’s so specific they are bound to remind you of people in your life. I genuinely have not seen another comedy that is comparable. There are plenty of satirical comedies, but the body horror tinge makes me think more of films like Titane than Velvet Buzzsaw.
As Borgli introduced the film he told the audience that, “with stress comes talent, so of course [he was] very stressed.” That confidence oozes into Sick Of Myself as he directs this thing with clear passion. This is not a comedy shot with basic coverage. It is not particularly colorful, but the camera angles he uses and the editing techniques he deploys add further layers of off-pudding humor. Ever since I saw the film I cannot erase from my memory the sequence in which Signe wakes up from a nap and attempts to pull her face off a drool-covered table. When she does this her face rips. The depiction of this ripping rivals some of the worst French extremist horror films I have seen. The performances by Thorp and Saether are star-making. Thorp is able to be completely unbearable and hilarious at the same time. It takes a charismatic actor to be such an awful person but somehow likable, similar to Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems. While Saether’s character is funny because of his dialogue written by Borgli, the majority of his humor derives from his mannerisms. In one sequence, when he is modeling for a magazine, He hilariously poses while holding a chair in what is one of the biggest belly laughs of the film.
Look out for Kristoffer Borgli, he is a much-needed idiosyncratic talent in the comedy landscape. He has a clear love for film through his dabbling in numerous genres and an appreciation for practical effects. This film probably won’t find a wide audience due to its disgusting nature, but for aspiring filmmakers and indie fanatics, this is a must-watch.
– Jack Schenker (@YUNGOCUPOTIS)
Kristoffer Borgli; Sick of Myself movie review