Friday 20 January 2012

Jar City (Myrin) [2006]

Jar City reminded me a lot about the Norwegian police procedural and psychological thriller Insomnia – both accentuated their psychological contents and excellently juxtaposed the inescapable human and societal violence against the starkly beautiful Nordic landscapes and its harsh weather. This grim, moody, intricately plotted and brilliantly paced Icelandic movie has as its centre Erlendur, a weary, jaded and chain-smoking police detective who, while investigating the brutal, messy and seemingly pointless homicide of an elderly man, stumbles upon some murky secrets including some that go as far back as three decades. The movie is presented through two different point of views – one being the meticulous procedural upon the afore-mentioned murder, with the other, shot through washed out blue filters to give a distinctive tonality to it, being on what led to the murder. Meanwhile, Erlendur’s troubled and drug-addict daughter finds it difficult to keep clean, thus adding a strong human element to his otherwise placid exterior. Thus, the personal lives of the protagonist as well that of the mysterious young man who might just be the perpetrator added emotional undertones to what could have otherwise become just another drab and convoluted exercise in crime solving. The film has a number of cleverly penned sequences and character dynamics that added layers of quiet power to the script. One of the most memorable aspects of this bleak, well-acted thriller, for me, were the stunning aerial shots used to capture the incredibly beautiful locales in and around Reykjavik, thus making this a visually arresting piece of work.

Director: Baltazar Kormakur
Genre: Thriller/Psychological Thriller/Mystery
Language: Icelandic
Country: Iceland


Roy Stafford said...

You are spot on with your reference to Insomnia. These two films are part of the current wave of what is now being called 'Nordic Noir' in the UK. Watch out for two new Norwegian movies Babycall and Headhunters which you might be able to see later this year.

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Roy for mentioning about 'Nordic Noir' - I wasn't aware that this has been recognized as a new wave of sorts. I shall be looking out for the two Norwegian films you've recommended.