17 September 2008 | vincenthetreed
Well-crafted police thriller with more than most of the genre.
Inspector Erlendur (Ingvar E. Sigurðsson) has to investigate a "messy and pointless" murder. A dirty old man has had his head bashed in in his flat. "Typical Icelandic", he thinks.
Iceland just touches the Arctic circle. It's a long way from anywhere else. It is grey and gritty, spectacular and melancholy, buffeted by blasts of wind, snow and steam. Against this background Erlendur doggedly untangles the connections and the crimes of the past, digging up corpses and secrets shameful or tragic. Landscape and society alike are revealed and commented on, drily and laconically.
Being based on a novel by Iceland's most successful crime writer, the characters are as well known to the home audience as Rebus, for instance, is in Britain, and carry enough of the baggage of real life to make them credible and sympathetic. There are visual themes of burials and exhumations, post-mortems, pathology labs and fast food, and a sound track of male voices shading into electronic moans and growls, which in turn dissolve into the wind. It's a very well-constructed package, which is thought provoking, gruesome, touching and funny, and it's certainly worth seeing.