Part of my "Icelandic Culture" Christmas gift this year was the 2002 film The Sea, or Hafið, as it was titled in its original Icelandic. A modern family saga, full of dysfunctional relationships, with quite a few laughs for such a bleak film. This is a film that you should be in the mood for, there is quite a lot of bitterness which threatens to turn horrific. The plot revolves around a fish business run by a patriarch who is out of sync with the times. He brings his family together in an attempt to force his will on them- he wants them to continue the fishery in the community, but he finds them all lacking. He is also writing his "memoirs" to set things straight, but all of the family knows only too well of his sordid past. The feelings of disgust are mutual and hilarity does not ensue.
The dynamics of fishing in Iceland is actually covered pretty well, as are xenophobia, small town mentality, and generational divisions. The acting and direction are all first-rate, but the story seems a bit forced. Director Baltasar Kormakúr has had better material. On a scale of one to four (Puffins?), I'd give it a two and a half.