11 November 2003 | jangu
Creaky plot and stiff acting
This thriller in the Agatha Christie vein could have been much better that it is. The actors are all well known in Sweden and Nils Asther even made a Hollywood career. The snowbound setting is atmospheric even if it is spoiled by the very theatrical looking graveyard. Arne Mattsson had before he made this had much success with a few thrillers where his unique sense of movement and lighting overcame silly storylines, much like Mario Bava in Italy. Most notably maybe in "Mannekäng i rött", an elegant technicolor thriller. This movie has a story that takes place around Christmas and New Years eve. There is a murder and more suspects than I have the strength to name here. The start of the picture isn't half-bad but soon stiff acting and silly dialogue destroy whatever mood there was in the beginning. As long as the actors are doing everyday chores and such thing, they seem quite natural. But once they are to display emotions of fear and dread, they act like cardboard cut-outs or hamming it up terribly. A few suspenseful sequences and a nice score cannot help this one I'm afraid. If you want to get familiar with Arne Mattsson and his particular visual style, watch "Mannekäng i rött" or "Vita frun" instead. They may look old-fashioned now, but at least they are hugely entertaining.