Australia’s At the Movies has released a review of ‘The Keeper of Lost Causes’.
Keeper of Lost Causes
Review by David Stratton
Danish police officer Carl Morck, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, wears a constantly grim expression, but then he doesn’t have a lot to smile about – thanks to his recklessness, one colleague was killed, another paralysed, and he’s been demoted to Department Q where he’s supposed to sign off on cold cases in a windowless office with the assistance of a Muslim officer, Assad, Fares Fares. Unwilling to be deskbound, Morck begins active investigation of the five-year-old disappearance of a rising politician, Merete Lyngaard, Sonja Richter, who is believed to have committed suicide while travelling on a ferry with her brain-damaged younger brother. Flashbacks allow us, the viewers, to access details of the unfortunate Merete’s fate while Carl and Assad painstakingly carry out their investigation.
This latest entry into the classy field of Scandinavian crime is a well-crafted and quite suspenseful thriller. Based on a best-selling book, Kvinden i buret (which means Woman in a Cage and which is the film’s Danish title, rather better than the silly English one), the film’s device of constant intercutting between the investigation and the plight of the unfortunate victim is quite effective, and even the permanently scowly presence of Nikolaj Lie Kaas grows on you. Fares Fares is particularly good as his reluctant partner. But I could have done with a lot less of the lengthy scenes depicting the agony and humiliation of the unfortunate Merete, which border at times on torture porn.
MARGARET: Do you know, I did not recognise that I had read the book until the end of the opening scene.
DAVID: That is because they changed the title.
MARGARET: Exactly. So, unfortunately, I knew where this film was going at every step of the way and I think it diminished it for me. If I’ve got a message for you, it’s don’t read the book before you see the film. I also feel that, having read the book, there is so much more texture in it than there is in the film. I also thought that Danish cinema television drama is so good these days that I felt this was a little bit below par because we’ve come to expect such a high bar for them.
MARGARET: I would give this three out of five.
DAVID: Yes, I’m with you: three out of five.