Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Keeper of Lost Causes: Movie Review

The Keeper of Lost Causes: Movie Review

Cast: Nikolaj lie Kass, Fares Fares, Sonja Richter
Director: Mikkel Norgaard

Scandi noir gets a potential new franchise with this Nordic thriller, aiming to fill a spot where a Girl with the Dragon Tattoo shaped hole is.

Kass is Detective Carl Morck, who's left unwanted after a shootout that crippled one former partner and resulted in the death of another. Re-assigned to the newly established Department Q, where cold cases are looked at, Morck fears his time in the force is numbered.

But when he arrives at the Department Q, he finds Assad (Fares) his co-worker and determined to prove him wrong, the stubborn Carl starts to look into the apparently closed case of a missing female politician, who apparently committed suicide leaving her brain damaged brother behind.

However, as the duo begins to investigate the past, all is not what it seems.

The Keeper of Lost Causes feels like the launch of a franchise - and frankly one which seems more at home as a weekly crime procedural rather than a thrilling big screen event.

Granted, Norgaard pulls together the usual tenseness one would expect from the genre, but there's very little here that feels anything other than formulaic. Kass spends a lot of his time scowling and looking pained as Morck, making him a little hard to side with; but he has an easy chemistry with Fares' more sensitive Assad, giving them a feel of a duo that could work long term.

There's some strikingly put together imagery on the screen (particularly the use of colour when the reality of what's going on is revealed), and some of it is quite disturbingly uncomfortable as is the wont of the genre. But it's the formulaic feel of the movie that doesn't quite convince as the start of a new series unfortunately; exposition comes in the form of flashbacks which give it more of a feeling of trying to beef up the story rather than driving the narrative within.

The Keeper of Lost Causes is not a bad start to the series (a second film is underway) as there's some tension to be had early on - it's just that it's not quite the sophisticated dark thrill ride you'd expect from the Scandi Noir stable.



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