Posted by: greercn | January 23, 2013

False Trail (Jagarna 2)

Mystery lovers will have already noted that Sweden has a massive murder rate, on film. And what a very attractive place it is to die. Space! Forests! Clean, clear interiors and truly great outdoors that you can almost smell as you watch.

“Jagarna 2” is the sequel to 1996’s “Jagarna”. In Swedish, this may mean “the destroyers” or “the hunters”, depending on context. The fabulous “Jagten” (The Hunt) has already shown us that men chasing animals may cause unhealthy side effects, anywhere in Scandinavia.

This film is fine to see by itself, although I am now keen to seek out the prequel.

The hero of “Jagarna”, a magnificent Rolf Lassgard (I am a little in love) is Erik Backstrom, back up north in his childhood hometown to investigate the mystery of a young woman who is missing, presumed dead.

Local police believe they have an open and shut case.  We all know that means they have the wrong guy, right?

Torsten (Peter Stormare) wants Erik off his patch and back in Stockholm.

During the early scenes, there are hints that the guys who hunt together and the police may have facts they wish to keep hidden.

Equal parts compelling, creepy and downright terrifying, “Jagarna 2” shares conventions of cop movies and horror tales. Don’t go into the basement! Check who’s behind you! Look out for the gun!

The atmosphere builds up nicely, in a disturbing and film noir way. Perhaps we need a new category of Film Svart – Swedish for black – to sum this up?

What little humour and light relief there is comes in the form of big city cop Johanna Lager, played by Lo Kauppi, who has a very fine future making whatever films she wishes to make. You can’t take your eyes off her when she’s on screen. She glows with energy and life.

Lots of swearing and quite graphic violence – albeit no sex – get this a 15 certificate. I really wouldn’t recommend seeing this with your teenager. It’s for older lovers of police procedurals with very strong stomachs.

Once you know whodunnit, the 129 minutes start to pass a little less quickly.

Still the whole audience for a very busy Discover Tuesday evening at the Stratford Picturehouse all seemed to be taken with it. I love the originality and risks taken by director Kjell Sundvall, who also made the first “Jagarna” and I will look out for any project he is involved in as he has such a super ability to make things look warm, cosy and threatening all at the same time. Clever and entertaining stuff indeed.

My companion grabbed my arm during the really very scary bits and I was pleased that I was not watching those scenes alone.


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