Starring: Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Per Scheel Krüger, Fares Fares
Genre: Crime/ Thriller
After an investigation he is in charge of leaves one colleague dead and another paralysed, detective Carl Mørck (Lie Kaas) is not allowed to return to the homicide department and is instead sent to look at cold cases and is given an assistant; Assad (Fares). Though he is told just to look through them, the case of a young politician’s (Sonja Richter) disappearance and supposed suicide interests Mørck and he decides to dig deeper, revealing much darker secrets.
Nordic noirs are certainly very popular at the moment with the likes of The Killing or Wallander dominating our TV screens, and The Keeper of Lost Causes is the first in a series of books by Jussi Adler-Olsen and so expect this to be a franchise starter. Admittedly there is nothing about The Keeper of Lost Causes that either sets it apart from or indeed perhaps justifies this being a film over any other crime or detective thriller that is made for TV, but it is a very competent, well-paced and genuinely gripping, if perhaps slightly generic and routine film.
I of course have no idea what is included, taken away and added to what is in the book, but Nikolaj Arcel’s screenplay is happy to tick off all the usual clichés such as a chalk and cheese partnership, a grumpy protagonist that is a bit of a maverick and has a dark back story, badges being revoked as our heroes are getting closer to the truth but upset their superiors etc.
The whereabouts of the woman are never a secret from us the audience, and though the whole race-against-time narrative feels a little contrived, at just over 90 minutes The Keeper of Lost Causes is very pacey and always gripping, if slightly forgettable. Director Mikkel Nørgaard directs very well and creates some brutal imagery and screenwriter Nikolaj Arcel does a decent job with the clichés to make for a partnership that certainly has potential in the inevitable sequels and does create moments of genuine tension and intrigue until the film’s very satisfying (if admittedly once again slightly conventional) finale.
Though perhaps not doing anything to justify having a cinema release over other Nordic Noir TV series’, The Keeper of Lost Causes is certainly just as good as those and though it may be very routine and conventional it is without doubt a pacey and gripping detective thriller.