There seems to be a never ending stream of Swedish or Norse films coming through at the moment, thanks in part I feel to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but I have to admit that I really enjoy a lot of Scandanavian thrillers, as there is something quite bleak about them.
But how does False Trail, the latest to hit UK shelves, fair?
15 years have passed since Erik left his hometown after a disastrous investigation into illegal hunting led to the death of his brother. But now he is called back after the discovery of a missing girls car & blood.
But can the seasoned detective manage to find the truth among a community that still blames him for events 15 years in the past?
Although False Trail has been marketed as a standalone film, it’s actually a sequel to 1996 film Jägarna (called The Hunters in the UK & elsewhere) but thankfully, apart from a few early references it doesn’t really rely on the viewer having seen the earlier film.
Which is a good thing, as False Trail is a perfectly enjoyable slice of crime mystery. The bleak countryside of Norrland lends itself to the investigation into what starts as a disappearance but ends up much more far reaching than Erik first thought.
Rolf Lassgård reprises the role he first played in 1996 as Erik, a haunted police investigate with more than a few skeletons still in his closet. He brings a stately presence to the role, infusing Erik with enough humanity & failings to make him an interesting lead & a perfect foil for the town police that he encounters on his return to his hometown.
Likewise Peter Stormare (a familiar face to a lot of viewers from his roles in shows like Prison Break and films like The Big Lebowski) is a great counterpoint to the stately & thoughtful Erik as local policeman Torsten, who has himself a few ties to Erik’s past. The two interact well, and their developing relationship is perfectly played.
Director Kjell Sundvall certainly has a talent for building tension, and uses the environment that he set the film in to its full advantage as he offsets the story with the stark environment & produces some stunning vistas that heighten the tension of the story while showing off the beauty & coldness of the Swedish countryside.
In fact, my only real complaint is that, for all the tension built through the film, the final realisation of who is responsible didn’t come as a surprise to me. Maybe I’m sick, or maybe it’s the amount of crime & horror films that I have watched over the years, but I always seem to be able to figure out the true killer before the detectives onscreen. Thankfully, it’s not something that stops me enjoying crime thrillers, but just once it would be nice to be surprised.
While there might have been a certain predictability in the plot of the film I was never less than entertained & gripped by the events onscreen. So much so that I didn’t really notice the 2 hour running time until near the end of the film.
If you are a fan of the crime thriller genre, then you could do far worse than snuggle up & be chilled by this bleak but rewarding film.