Scandinavian Noir has emerged in recent years as one of the most exciting genres in Film and Television drama. Built on the back of highly successful novels, the genre is known for tightly constructed, dark, surprising thrillers that twist, torment and play with viewers expectations.
The Keeper Of Lost Causes, directed by Mikkel Nørgaard (Klown) and adapted from a novel by Jussi Adler-Olsen aims to deliver exactly what we have come to expect from Scandinavian Noir.
Nikolaj Lie Kaas plays Carl Mørck, a no-nonsense detective who, in the opening sequence leads a raid that goes horribly wrong. After coming back from medical leave, he is assigned a job with no future and little status, sorted old, partially solved, mostly forgotten cases.
He soon finds a case, the disappearance of Merete Lynggaard (Sonja Richter), originally considered to be a suicide, which he feels needs further investigation. Along with his assistant Assad (Fares Fares) Mørck proceeds to bend and break rules in order to try and solve the case.
And while the acting, especially as the relationship develops between Mørck and Assad, is assured and the cinematography (in typically cold, grey, Danish fashion) is compelling, the story jumps around in unhelpful ways and the score does little to help build suspense, even at times betraying it.
In fact, The Keeper Of Lost Souls feels more like a double episode of a TV show than a fully fledged film.
A sequel is, not surprisingly, in the works. One can only hope that second time round, with the premise and core relationships established, the action and story telling will be more focussed and suspenseful.
The Keeper of Lost Causes is not a terrible film; it is a perfectly adequate crime thriller that will appeal to fans of this genre. But, expectations are so high for Scandinavian Noir these days, it is hard not to walk away from seeing this film feeling a little disappointed and let down.