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The Keeper of Lost Causes

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This screen adaptation of Danish crime writer Jussi Adler-Olsen’s first Department Q novel is being screened as part of the Scandinavian Film Festival.

Directed by Mikkel Norgaard, it begins with an almost whimpered “bang”, swiftly dispensing of lead character Detective Carl Morck’s only allies on the Danish police force in a guilt-provoking cop-not-waiting-for-backup-style forced entry.

This slumping tragedy casts a gritty shadow over the early stages and swamps the mood of Morck ((Nikolaj Lie Kaas) as he is confined to a basement desk to go over cold cases. His upbeat partner Assad, played by Fares Fares (Zero Dark Thirty), is on an upward move from his last terrible job and clashes absurdly with the blunt tongue and tragic cloudiness that follow Morck around.

The casual start to the film is, however, deceptive. The murky intrigue and interplay between Morck’s Taurean temperament and Assad’s sunnier, gentler personality lead to a surprising set of occurrences, as they recombine and reignite allegedly stale facts. As details are revealed, so is the inventive horror of the story.

The Keeper of Lost Causes is a steadily paced and rewarding investigative drama that lays up a good template for a series of films. It’s sincerely recommended viewing.

The Keeper of Lost Causes is screening at Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas on Sunday, July 27, as part of the Scandinavian Film Festival, which runs until July 31.


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