5 May 2011 | lazarillo
Worthwhile Swedish crime thriller
After his drugged-out sister jumps off a building, the son of a wealthy judge, along with his journalist friend and his girlfriend, decide to go after the gang who was using the innocent girl as an "angel" to sell drugs to other innocent kids. Starting with a babbling audiotape his sister made while high, he traces the drug source to a gangster with the unfortunate name of "Harry Balski" (Heinz Hopf). The gangster in turn repeatedly tries to kill him and kidnaps his girlfriend. . .
This is a 70's Swedish crime thriller. It obviously owes a lot to American and Italian crime thrillers from the era, but compare to those the violence here is much more oblique. And unlike the more notorious Swedish crime film "Thriller--a Cruel Picture" (which was actually banned in Sweden and pretty much everywhere else) there is not a lot of graphic sex (where American and Italian films often used graphic violence to compensate for a lack of explicit sex, Swedish films often used graphic sex to compensate for a lack of violence). Still, this is a worthwhile film. It still has a very perverse and depressingly sleazy atmosphere. It's also very realistic in a way. The protagonist does not immediately turn into a tough guy when his sister gets killed--he usually gets his butt kicked, and survives only due to luck and the incompetence of his opponents. The mob boss, rather than being pure evil, is actually rather adverse to violence and has little control over his crazed, drugged out, and generally incompetent crew. One would-be assassin only pretends to kill the protagonist and then tries to extort money from the boss. Another hood is a babbling junkie who draws all kinds of attention to himself as he and his partner attempt to dump the tied-up, unconscious hero into the bay.
Actor Heinz Hopf played more sinister creeps in other Swedish exploitation films like "Exposed" and the aforementioned "Thriller". He is intentionally somewhat sympathetic here, trapped between his own crazed and incompetent underlings and the truly corrupt, powerful people who are behind him. Swedish director Arne Matson had a career as a "respectable" Swedish director, but eventually started dabbling in more exploitative fare like the Franco Nero lolita-sploitation film "The Girl" and this. He certainly knows what he's doing, and that really comes through, even with the low-budget and hacky English dubbing.