As far as saturation goes, Scandinavian crime thrillers are up there with the most saturated of fats as a genre that probably doesn’t need any more crammed in to it. Indeed, Scandinavians are so good at crime shenanigans that it’s probably one of the first things most people will say about the region. While the genre is crammed with films, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it well as last year’s ‘Easy Money’ proved and while ‘The Keeper of Lost Causes’ isn’t as good as the aforementioned film, it does everything it should well and is bolstered by strong performances from its main cast.
Based on a book by Jussi Adler-Olsen and written for the screen by Nikolaj Arcel who helmed the great ‘A Royal Affair’, ‘Keeper’ is a film that from the start makes it clear that it’s going to be one of a dark colour palette, browns and greys making up much of the scenery and lots of drinking as the film makes it clear that its antiheroic detective is pretty much like all the others. Played brilliantly by Nikolaj Lie Kaas, it’s his performance that elevates Carl from just being a tired retreading of the trope of the tired detective to a genuinely interesting character, working well together with Fares Fares who plays his new assistant Assad. Sonja Richter plays the main female role, and she also is very strong, having to do a lot to ensure that her performance is believable, since she’s given quite a big challenge, and she pulls it off well.
Director Mikkel Nørgaard has succeeded in making a film that does nothing to challenge genre stereotypes but succeeds in being sufficiently gripping and interesting so as to be worth the entirety of its 100 minute runtime. As the start of a series, it’ll be interesting to see whether he returns to direct the next one and whether it will continue just trying to do genre tropes well, but it’s a watchable and worthwhile film that definitely reminds you of Wallander and his ilk but brings just enough of its own story forward to stand on its own two feet.
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