Sun never sets on Scandi noir

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television Free To Air - Mid­night Sun,

Mid­night Sun, the high-con­cept Euro thriller from Mans Mar­lind and Bjorn Stein, star­ring French ac­tress Leila Bekhti ( The Prophet) and Gustaf Ham­marsten ( The Girl with the Dragon Tat­too), in­trigu­ing, aus­tere and beau­ti­ful. It’s the most ex­pen­sive Nordic drama made, its creators also re­spon­si­ble for The Bridge, which has been shown in 160 coun­tries and re­made twice.

Kahina Zadi (Bekhti), a French homi­cide de­tec­tive of Al­ge­rian Ber­ber ori­gins, trav­els to Kiruna, a small min­ing com­mu­nity in re­mote north­ern Swe­den — where the sum­mer sun never sets — to in­ves­ti­gate the bru­tal mur­der of a French citizen. The first scene is one of the most dra­matic in re­cent TV crime fic­tion: a man is re­vealed tied to the ro­tor blade of a large he­li­copter that slowly be­gins to ro­tate as the ma­chine is started by some un­seen hand.

The mur­der takes place at an icy, re­mote place called Rakkaslahku, 257km north of the po­lar Mid­night Sun cir­cle, a rein­deer keeper re­port­ing the atroc­ity to the lo­cal po­lice. With the help of Swedish in­ves­ti­ga­tor An­ders Har­nesk (Ham­marsten), from the in­dige­nous Sami com­mu­nity, Zadi finds her­self fac­ing new killings that also seem to in­volve a heavy-duty ma­chine of one kind or an­other, the ini­tial mur­der just the be­gin­ning.

She and Har­nesk have lit­tle idea what they are in­volved with but it seems to have some­thing to do with the town’s min­ing com­plex, known by the lo­cals as “Mother”, with which ev­ery­one in the lo­cal com­mu­nity has some kind of re­la­tion­ship. There’s lit­tle doubt from the clues set into the pi­lot episode that po­lit­i­cal, en­vi­ron­men­tal and in­dige­nous con­cerns will be plaited into the com­plex plot, and that ques­tions about cul­tural sen­si­tiv­i­ties, racial ac­cep­tance and dis­crim­i­na­tion will in­flu­ence the drama. SBS On De­mand.

Peter Stor­mare, Leila Bekhti, Gustaf Ham­marsten and Richard Ulf­sater in the French-Swedish crime drama

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