Reviews - The Keeper of Lost Causes
The Keeper of Lost Causes
Reviewed By Ian Payne
Adapted from Jussi Adler-Olsen's best seller, the first of a series of Department Q novels, screenwriter Nikolaj Arcel ( The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, A Royal Affair) had the daunting task of compressing a long and complex novel into a stand-alone, 90 minute drama yet lay the foundations for potential sequels.
The first element of the formula was establishing the character of Carl Morck (Nikolaj Lie Klass), a taciturn and stubborn policeman dealing with the usual emotional baggage and awkward relatives. Add in the eager sidekick (Assad, played by Fares Fares),along with the psychotic, ice-cold villain and the damsel in distress and all the elements are there.
However The Keeper of Lost Causes was greater than the sum of its parts. The story was told in real time as Morck and Assad investigate the disappearance of Merete Lynggaard (a thoroughly convincing performance by Sonja Richter)and in flashback, as the events leading up to her captivity are revealed. The two strands come together superbly in a nail biting climax.
Inevitably the demands of the cinema stripped away from the story some of the novel's layers of complexity which led to one or two holes in the plot and if there is a criticism, the somewhat heavy-handed film score did tend to lead your emotions and signpost what was coming next.
It is nonetheless a first rate thriller, spawned by a Danish Film and Publishing industry that is at the top of its game. A clue to the secret of its success can perhaps be seen in an exchange between Morck and an injured colleague, as Morck contemplates a life outside the Police Force, having been suspended from work. "What on earth would you do?" asks Hardy, incredulously "write crime novels?"
Perhaps there are a lot of ex Policemen in Scandinavia.
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