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Keeper of Lost Causes, The


Stars: Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Fares Fares, Sonja Richter, Rasmus Botoft, Anton Honik, Eric Ericson, Olivia Holden, Soren Pilmark, Morten Kirkskov, Marijana Jankovic

Director: Mikkel Norgaard

An okay-plus Scandi 'noir' that runs like the pilot for a TV series that you'd probably want to watch, especially if you like things like Waking the Dead. This one, the first of several planned, from the books by Jussi Adler-Olsen, establishes the basic set-up: morose, arrogant cop Carl (Kaas) goes into a crime scene without waiting for backup. Shots ring out and he is badly wounded, with one partner killed and the other disabled for life.

Recovered but hardly contrite, Carl finds himself demoted to a desk job: Department Q, a repository for cold cases, which he and his assistant Assad (Fares) are expected to fold up and put away. After initial apathy, and a horror of Assad's coffee, Carl becomes fascinated by the case of Mereke Lynggaard, a young party worker whose threw herself off a ferry while travelling with her brain-damaged brother.

To the disgust of his superiors, Carl investigates further, feeling that the facts point to anything but suicide, especially as the brother was seen away from Mereke in the company of a tall men in a hooded raincoat.

Meanwhile, as the plot lets us know earlier, Mereke is alive but held captive in a pressure chamber, suffering agonies when the pressure is increased, as the weeks turn into months and years. Surely there's no way of tracking her mysterious captor down?

Kaas is appropriately dour as Carl, burdened with a divorced wife and a hedonistic son (Honik) who disrupts his life with occasional visits. The minutiae of police work is well observed, while the appropriate tension is engendered at the climax. Further cold cases are awaited with interest.

David Quinlan

Denmark/Germany/Sweden 2013. UK Distributor: Picturehouse Entertainment. Colour (unspecified).
98 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 25 Aug 2014