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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jar City. Baltasar Kormakur. Blue Eyes Production (2007)

A gripping and grim murder story set in Iceland. A man is found dead in a basement flat. The investigation lead by Inspector Erlendur(Ingvar Eggert Sigurdsson) follows a trail that leads to a decades old rape and police corruption as well as the Icelandic gene mapping project. The resolution of the story is as bleak as the extraordinary landscape of Iceland, the sins of the fathers are truly visited upon their children.
Among the numerous virtues of this film is the tightly wound script, the plot has been carefully structured so that the various elements reveal themselves in very effective fashion and the threads tie up tightly. The action is not plot bound however, the cast are tremendous and the action flows very naturally around them. Ingvar Eggert Sigurdsson is the central figure in the film, a dourly effective police inspector with a troubled relationship with his drug addict daughter. He avoids being a walking cliche by the depth and force of his performance, the rest of the cast are excellent also.
The Icelandic setting is used to tremendous effect within the film, the soaring shots of the landscape are stark and beautiful, they capture the lack of sentimentality in the film. There are difficult family relationships at the heart of the action and they are depicted with care and feeling so that they ring true, shot through with an awkward restraint that that underscore the tension much more than shouting would do. An intelligent film that takes the viewer seriously, a treat.

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