When aspiring musicians Lars and Sigrit are given the opportunity to represent their country at the world’s biggest song competition, they finally have a chance to prove that any dream worth having is a dream worth fighting for.
‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga’ (wow, that title is a mouthful!) is the latest Will Ferrell comedy vehicle and it’s the story of an Icelandic duo with big dreams to represent their country at Eurovision. The film is a loving homage to all things Eurovision and your thoughts about the actual Eurovision will play a large part in your enjoyment of ‘Fire Saga’. Released on Netflix, I must say I suspected this could have been a ‘Land of the Lost’ style disaster but it was a fair bit more enjoyable than I was anticipating.
Ferrell and Rachel McAdams star as Lars and Sigrit, two best friends from the small town of Husavik in Iceland who have grand ambitions of taking their local band ‘Fire Saga’ out of the local pub and on to the Eurovision stage. They play cheesy pop songs that seem tailor made for Eurovision, and in fact one of the only surprises in the film is that the Icelandic selection committee seem unable to see this. Despite this, several strokes of luck (or misfortune) lead the band on the way to Eurovision, which is being hosted in Edinburgh (my home city!), and it’s always great to see Edinburgh and Scotland on the big screen, although I note that some Glaswegians may be less happy at flagship venue The Hydro being moved to Edinburgh for the purposes of the film!
Eurovision is a kitschy event that is almost impossible to pastiche and the reason I felt this film mostly worked is because it comes from a place of love and is clearly made by people who enjoy the Eurovision Song Contest. It embraces the ridiculousness of the concept and the ceremony and the film excels when the colourful supporting cast are introduced, with Dan Stevens a clear standout as a scenery chewing rival Russian entrant. It’s not the funniest film in the world and it is undoubtedly too long (the best comedies are almost always c90 minutes!) but it did make me laugh and there’s a bit of heart in amongst the over the top characterisation and general Eurovision antics.
‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga’ isn’t going to trouble any Will Ferrell best of lists, but it’s a moderately enjoyable comedy and it’s worth it for Dan Stevens and the Edinburgh setting alone.
*For Edinburgh folks, help me out with some of the shooting locations. Alexander’s (Dan Stevens) mansion looked suspiciously like The Voodoo Rooms inside at times, and outside looked a bit like Gosford House. Anyone know what the real locations were?
Directed By: David Dobkin
Starring: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Dan Stevens, Pierce Brosnan, Demi Lovato, Mikael Persbrandt, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Melissanthi Mahut and Graham Norton