Review: The Keeper Of Lost Causes

There is nothing much new about Mikkel Norgaard’s The Keeper of Lost Causes. Another in the recent line of Scandinavian crime thrillers adapted from a best-selling novel, which while not offering much new to the genre, is crafted well enough to sustain the suspense and interest to its predictable end.

There is nothing much new about Mikkel Norgaard’s The Keeper of Lost Causes. Another in the recent line of Scandinavian crime thrillers adapted from a best-selling novel, which while not offering much new to the genre, is crafted well enough to sustain the suspense and interest to its predictable end. Nikolaj Lie Kaas (who looks like a Danish cross between Mark Wahlberg and Jason Bateman) plays hand-quivering, pill-popping cop Carl Morck, who is assigned to the newly created ‘Department Q’ on returning to work after being shot in the line of duty. His new assignment is to sort and close 20 years of cold cases with the assistance from cheery and clearly mismatched Assad (Lebanese-born Swedish actor Fares Fares from Zero Dark Thirty). Carl’s been shoved down to the basement as much for his prickly social skills as for his post-trauma rehabilitation. True to the ‘loner battling demons doing it his way’ stereotype that he is, Carl defies his boss’s orders and starts re-investigating a case of Merete (Sonja Richter), whose apparent suicide left behind a mentally disabled brother, Uffe (Mikkel Boe Folsgaard), for whom she cared. The dual narratives – one focusing on the police procedural as they slowly piece together the truth of the case and the other revealing Merete’s backstory leading up to her present day ongoing ordeal – are edited together with care for clarity and pacing. Scenes in which Merete is held captive in a pressure chamber and systematically tortured are tense indeed, with some viewers possibly finding one in particular too much to bear. If you think you can handle it though, and the milder torture of familiar stock genre conventions, then The Keeper of Lost Causes is a sharply structured, well-performed and gripping film… in a squirm-in-your-chair kind of way. The Keeper of Lost Causes is in cinemas now. Rated MA.  

X