THE ABSENT ONE/ FASANDRAEBERNE
Sweden, 2014, 190 minutes, Colour.
Nikolai Lie Kaas, Fares Fares, Pilou Asbaek, David Dencik, Danica Curic, Sarah-Sophie? Boussnnina, Johanne Louise Schmidt, Marco Ilso, Beate Bille, Philip Stilling, Kristian Hogh Jeppesen.
Directed by Mikkel Norgaard.
Filmmakers from Scandinavia certainly know how to make grim as for crime thrillers for the cinema as well is for television. One remembers The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequel is.
Four novels by author, Jussi Adler- Olsen, Danish writer, have been brought to the screen featuring the detective, Carl Morck and his assistant Assad (played by Nikolai Lie Kaas and Fares Fares in the four films). The first was The Keeper of Lost Cases, followed by the present film, The Absent One. It was followed by A Conspiracy of Faith and Journal 64.
Carl is a morose police officer, practically a loner, absolutely committed to his work, even obsessive. His behaviour and demeanour must make Kenneth Branagh’s Wallender seem light-hearted! He has no real personal life, living with his son but having little contact and forgetting to be social. On the other hand, Assad is a good friend and, mainly, a support.
This is a complex story, beginning with a disillusioned police officer with a box full of evidence about the murder of his son and daughter, trying to get Carl to investigate but brushed off as being drunk and then killing himself. Carl is full of remorse and pursues the case, with another obsession, the missing woman involved in the past crimes, searching for her, finding her, committing himself to help her.
On the other hand, she has been a vicious girl and disillusioned woman. The film goes into flashback, to show the elite school which she attends, gets the eye of a wealthy student and his yes-man friend.
The wealthy student has grown up to be even wealthier, a very successful businessman, ruthless in eliminating opposition. His yes-man friend is still doing his beck and call although he has set himself up very successfully as well. They are played by Pilou Aesbak and David Dencik, two prominent Danish actors who appeared in international films and television.
The film becomes increasingly grim, the two detectives not being absolute heroes, even rescued by the reappearance of the young woman. And, there is a rather apocalyptic ending in fire.
Reinforcing the opinion that Scandinavians do crime dramas very well.
1. The popular series of detective novels? To screen? The portrait of Carl and Assad? Their investigations?
2. The Nordic atmosphere, the Danish settings, the 21st-century and flashbacks to the 1980s? The city, police precincts and offices, homes, mansions, countryside and grounds? The poorer district in the city? The 1980s, the school in the countryside?
3. The title, with reference to Kimmie?
4. The portrait of Carl, in himself, grim and morose? Obsessive, his life, living with his son, inviting him to dinner and then forgetting, the finale with the beer at his son’s door? His work, the detective, previous success, limited budgets, relationship with authorities? Working with Assad, friendship and support? Rose and her being employed? His investigations, his risks and violence, wanting to be Kimmie’s saviour?
5. Assad, his background, his skills, detecting, police work, his friendship with Carl, support? More personable?
6. Rose, sociable, wary of Carl, his gruff manner, her employment, her efficiency, sorting out documents, putting them on the wall, the phone contacts, her suggestions, finding it too much at the end?
7. The officials, supervision, budgets, political connections?
8. The old policeman, accosting Carl, the case, Carl dismissing him as a drunk, his killing himself? The package and the documents? The information? The murder of his children? Rose, sorting the material? Carl and his feeling bad about the old man’s death?
9. The box, the information, the leads? The mention of Pram? The worker imprisoned for the murders? His confession? His wealthy lawyer? Pram and his friendship with Rick? Carl and Assad and their visit? The information of the phone message from the 1980s, Kimmie and her voice? The mission to track her down?
10. The background of the school, elite, wealthy? Kirsten and her sharing the room? Her rough manner, her eye on Pram? The bond, his power over her? With Ulrik? Amoral, violence? The revelation of the number of attacks, around the school, at the same period? Kimmie being used by Pram, to seduce the science teacher, her effectiveness and mockery? The evidence of dates, places, crimes?
11. The visit to Pram? In himself, his age, wealth, business, a hunter, the prize for his fellow hunters, the trophies in his house? His friendship with Rick and Ulrik’s assistance? Pram, his marriage, her affair, getting his thugs, being masked, bashing the lover, his being hospitalised, Pram’s visit, offering him the job, the threats to silence?
12. Bjarne, workman, drugs, his working with the group, sharing their violence, the gang rape of the young woman? His becoming the fall guy, going to prison, the wealthy lawyer, getting out, the money, his flash car, Carl Assad visiting him? The flashbacks?
13. Pram, the detective’s visit, her fear, Assad going into the kitchen, later using her as a means to get Ulrik out of the house? Her relationships, and with Ulrik, leading him on?
14. Tracking Kimmie, anonymous, the sightings, the prostitute, friendship, her giving information, the contact and her overdose and death?
15. The search, Pram and his setting his men on her? Her having the bag – and the revelation of the body of the baby? The flashbacks about her pregnancy, the clash with Pram, falling out the window, going to the hospital, the death of the child? Living in the poorer part of the city, her angers, tension? Hostility towards Pram and writing him letters?
16. Pram’s contact, her going to the bar, the disguise, going to the apartment, the revelation, the man trying to kill her, her threatening him, his falling from the balcony?
17. Her imprisonment, Carl going to visit her, promising his help?
18. The flashbacks, more information about the crimes, especially of the policeman’s son and daughter, the brutality of the rape, the murder of the son?
19. Ulrik, his affairs, assistant to Pram as when they were at school? His house, his servant and the sexual encounters, his souvenirs? And the relics from the crimes, Carl and Assad finding them?
20. The meeting of the house, the confrontation, the darts, imprisonment? Kimmie, going to court, attacking the guard, the escape, saving Carl and Assad? The confrontation with Pram, the chase? Her setting the fire, his death, her dying?
21. The achievement – and on to the next case?