Sunday, 22 July 2012
Unremittingly depressing Icelandic crime story, everything about it is miserable, the palette of colours, the settings, the scenery, the people, the food – definitely not sponsored by the Iceland Tourist Board. Jar City makes ‘Wallander’ (the Swedish version) look like Miami Vice – not a Faroe Island jumper in sight. The plot follows Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson’s hard-bitten cop Erlendur on a murder investigation that leads into the past. There are good performances here and solid direction by Baltasar Kormákur, who has just completed ‘Contraband’ (as of late 2011), directing Mark Wahlberg, Giovanni Ribisi and Kate Beckinsale.
There are some mechanical difficulties, like certain sections of flashback which are hard to pick up because there is no visual distinction between with the main action, and the subtitles are too fast in places with no obvious reason. But if you like your cops gritty, your stories grimy and your locations grey and inhospitable then you will probably enjoy this. Ultimately it is in the same territory as the likes of ‘Spiral’ and ‘The Killing’, and the story perhaps suffers a bit from not having the same amount of time as these for the viewer to become immersed in the detail, but Jar City is a good film and well worth the rental if you are looking for a gloomy thriller.