A Swedish fictional thriller telling an all too familiar tale of rival criminal organisations, this time those of the Stockholm underground. The story focuses on the character of JW, a talented young student who is drawn deeper and deeper into one of the group’s employ, played well here by Joel Kinnaman. The problem is that it’s interminably dull, and there is absolutely nothing about any of the characters that is likely to be of interest to the audience, with the only exception those that are shown to have innocent family members that they care about, that being the case it feels like an entirely false inclusion and is far from an original hook in a film that otherwise substitutes violence for plot, and has little to no humanity. It’s filmed in an ultra modern style, showcasing how it’s possible to use many of the habits trending the world right now to bad effect – the insistence on using orange, blue and green lighting/colouring, the fast and out of sequence editing for no real reason, the unsteady camera, and indeed music that is badly misused and at one point noticeably seems to be stealing ideas from ‘The Dark Knight’ (08).
There are more than a couple of similarities with Tarantino’s work here too, with the kind of irrelevant stories the characters tell and the way we are inserted into them as a voyeur, and, one of the worst parts of the film, a plot device toward the end which is effectively straight from the pages of ‘Pulp Fiction’ (94). It’s from director Daniel Espinosa (‘Safe House’ 2012) and is based on the novel by Jens Lapidus, which became the first part of his ‘Stockholm Noir’ trilogy, and indeed the sequel to this will already be familiar to Swedish audiences, with part three due out later this year. Zac Effron is slated to appear in Hollywood’s upcoming remake. I’m sure it will be great.