Bloody Angels

Bloody Angels


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The best whodunnits are clear about their confusion. A red herring is not blue, neither is it a rabbit. In this Norwegian murder mystery, you have no idea what is going on. The police behave like louts. The children are bullies. In fact, everyone is a bully, except Niklas, the little brother of the youth who was pulled out of the river, frozen to death.

Nicholas (Reidar Sorensen), the big shot detective from Oslo, makes friends with Niklas (Gaute Skjegstad), possibly because everyone else in the village is so horrible. Nicholas isn't much better. He stamps on the vicar's dog, because he doesn't like the man.

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The script is unconventional. People speak in non-sequiturs, which makes comprehension a challenge. No one respects the police and everyone hates an outsider. When Nicholas is beaten to a pulp by men in balaclavas, one of whom is a local cop, no charges are brought. When drunken yobs fling beer in his face during a fracas outside the pub he goes back to his lodgings and has sex with the landlady.

First-time director Karin Julsrud thinks hard is cool. Also, there are snatches of arty camerawork for those who like out-of-focus flashbacks. What emerges from the plot is that six months previously a mentally defective girl was murdered in this isolated community. The chief suspects were Niklas's two older brothers. Now one is dead and the other has disappeared. Enter cop of the year from the capital, who is told, "You're not from here, you don't know how it works."

Julsrud fails to capitalise on the in-bred collective hatred that threatens the safety of the man who will solve the crime. For one thing, Nicholas hasn't a clue. He barges around the place upsetting people. Not surprisingly, he receives little help. Niklas likes him, but Niklas has no friends.

The shock ending is no shock. It could only happen here.

"Everything sucks," Niklas says.

Well, yes.

Reviewed on: 31 Oct 2001
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Bloody Angels packshot
Oslo detective comes to isolated community to solve two murders.

Director: Karin Julsrud

Writer: Finn Gjerdrum, Kjetil Indregard

Starring: Reidar Sorensen, Gaute Skjegstad, Trond Hovik, Simon Norrthon

Year: 1998

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Norway


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