The Keeper of Lost Causes
Directed by: Mikkel Nørgaard
Produced by: Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan, Tracey Seaward
Written by: Nikolaj Arcel
Jussi Adler-Olsen (novel)
Starring: Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Fares Fares
3 October 2013 (Denmark)
FILM REVIEW BY LINNDA DURRE'
In the tradition of Nordic noir and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" comes the Danish crime thriller, "The Keeper of Lost Causes", adapted from the best selling book by writer Jussi Adler-Olsen. This is the first of a series of adaptations with the central character, Carl Morck, played by Nikolaj Lie Kass.
In introductory scenes, Morck and his police colleagues are waiting for the signal from his
superiors to enter a home, possibly harboring criminals. Morck seems stubborn, principled, and determined to do the right thing and save innocent lives that might be at stake and arrest the bad guys. His impatience gets the better of him and he overrides the orders, invading the house in a blast of gunfire, only to have one of his colleagues shot and killed, and another one end up hospitalized as a paraplegic. Morck's guilt is also a motivator.
Because of his impetuousness and disobeying orders, Morck is banished to Department Q, the cold cases, which turns out to be two crowded, dusty, poorly lit storage rooms in the basement, organized by the astute assistant assigned to him named Assad, played by the subtly charismatic Fares Fares. Morck begrudgingly begins to respect his smart, assertive aide and fellow police investigator, who contributes his experience, insight, and gut instincts.
Morck is ordered to wrap up each case quickly and not do any investigating. Not gonna happen. He's just not that kind of guy. And we're happy he's not.
One of the cases becomes an addiction for him - the disappearance on a ferry of beautiful, intelligent politician Merete Lyngaard, played by Sonja Richter. She is the only sister and caretaker of her traumatized younger brother Uffe, played by Mikkel Boe Folsgaard, who also played the mentally and emotionally challenged King Christian VII in "A Royal Affair." Mikkel must be specializing in damaged characters because both of his portrayals were outstanding.
The case has been closed as a suicide. Morck doesn't understand why a reliable, stable, and popular politician who is the only caretaker of her fragile brother would commit suicide. The "facts" don't add up.
Encountering bureaucratic resistance to delving deeper, Morck takes it upon himself, with Assad's support and assistance, to follow his own intuition about the inconsistencies of this fascinating case. After talking to the former police investigator on the case and Merete's fellow politicians, Morck senses a cover up and uncovers shoddy police work, negligence, lies, and resistance.
Morck and Assad, the odd couple of Danish police investigators, go in search of the facts, uncovering more and more bizarre clues with twists, turns, and false leads. The puzzle pieces begin to fall into place. Assad, patient with Morck's rudeness and total disregard with proper police procedure, also knows that Morck is onto breaking this case and Assad does everything he can to cover both of their backs and contribute his clever and insightful ideas to furthering the investigation. Their mutual respect and bond grows stronger, even if Assad's coffee always meets with disdain from Morck.
The initial scenes after the tragedy between Morck and his superior who is demoting him contrasted with the end scenes when Morck cleverly solves the complicated case are to be savored. Morck, who steadfastly refused to be silenced or stonewalled, now makes requests about what he wants in his department for himself and Assad. He's too savvy to call them demands. This scene will give anyone supreme satisfaction who has ever been in similar Kafkaesque circumstances with a boss who blocks, stalls, and denigrates you, only for you to be right and emerge victorious.
This 97 minute film is riveting and not for the claustrophobic. I was on the edge of my seat for the entire time. I look forward to more books by Jussi Adler-Olsen adapted into such thrilling, well made films, this one written by Nikolaj Arcel and directed by Mikkel Norgaard.
It was masterly produced by Peter Aalbaek Jensen and Louise Vesth, with haunting music by Patrik Andren, Uno Helmersson, and Johan Soderqvist; and cinematography by Eric Kress. A must see and a must read.
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