Th­ese grim Swedes

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILMREVIEWS - DON­ALD CLARKE


Di­rected by Kjell Sund­vall. Star­ring Peter Stor­mare, Rolf Lass­gård, An­nika Nordin, Kim Tjern­ström, Eero Milonoff

16 cert, lim­ited re­lease, 125 min

What else can we say about the Scan­di­na­vian crime thriller? There are a lot of them about. They have a great deal to do with drunks. They rarely end hap­pily.

This ef­fi­cient, if un­re­mark­able, Swedish ad­di­tion to the canon meets all the ex­pec­ta­tions. A grubby crime stirs up all kinds of hor­rid se­crets in a town built al­most en­tirely from peel­ing com­pli­cated by the fact that the hard­est po­lice of­fi­cer in town (the su­per Peter Stor­mare) is Back­strom’s brother-in-law. Be­fore too long they’re scowl­ing at one an­other over the freshly shot veni­son.

Lass­gård is best known as the orig­i­nal Kurt Wal­lan­der, and he brings the same de­gree of wind­blasted cyn­i­cism to Back­strom. The Nordic thriller – like 1940s film noir – has its own unique class of seed­i­ness: wooden shack for oys­ter-shell mo­tel; rot­ten parka for belted mack­in­tosh. No­body looks as if he or she has had enough sleep. Ev­ery­body seems worn down by the long nights.

Strong at­mos­phere and topflight act­ing are, how­ever, not quite all you need for an ef­fec­tive mys­tery thriller. False Trail takes far too long to get to a des­ti­na­tion that’s sign­posted about an hour into the ac­tion. Oh, and don’t bother try­ing to guess the sideswip­ing nar­ra­tive twist. There isn’t one. planks. Men in heavy coats stomp about the place and – some­what too slowly – hap­pen upon a sor­did so­lu­tion.

False Trail feels like a su­pe­rior episode of a TV se­ries, and it tran­spires that the pic­ture, whose orig­i­nal ti­tle trans­lates as The Hunters 2, is se­quel to a thriller from dis­tant 1996.

Erik Back­strom (Rolf Lass­gård), a de­tec­tive based in Stock­holm, is sum­moned to his home­town in north­ern Swe­den to in­ves­ti­gate the dis­ap­pear­ance of a young woman. A very Nordic class of lu­natic – all mat­ted hair and death metal – has been im­pli­cated, but our hero quickly lo­cates holes in the case. The sit­u­a­tion is

Rolf ‘Wal­lan­der’ Lass­gård in

False Trail

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