out of Five
Running time: 130
Enjoyable slice of Nordic Noir, enlivened by some atmospheric direction, a strong sense of place, an engaging, suitably dark script and superb performances from Lassgard and Stormare.
What's it all about?
Directed by Kjell Sundvall, False Trail (original title Jagarna 2, since the film is technically a sequel to Sundvall's 1996 thriller The Hunters, though no prior knowledge of said film is required) stars Rolf Lassgard as ageing Stockholm detective Erik Backstrom, who's sent to the smalltown Swedish community he grew up in, in order to investigate the disappearance of a young woman.
When he arrives, Backstrom quickly discovers that local top cop Torsten (Peter
Stormare) already has his chief suspect (Eero Milonoff as Jari) in custody, but when Backstrom pokes holes in the evidence, tensions flare between the two. Things are further complicated by the fact that Torsten is stepfather to Backstrom's nephew Peter (Kim Tjernstrom), while Backstrom also has to deal with traumatic memories surrounding a tragedy in his past.
The success of TV's The Killing, The Bridge, Wallander and so on has ignited a huge appetite for so-called Nordic Noir (or Scandi-crime) in the UK, which goes some way towards explaining the repackaging and theatrical release of False Trail (not to mention that keeping the original title of The Hunters 2 might have been confusing with The Hunt and The Hunter both already released this year); handily, the original 1996 film is also getting a DVD release in the very near future.
Lassgard is excellent as world-weary Backstrom, his towering, authoritative, physically imposing presence adding extra weight to his confrontations with Torsten. Stormare is equally good as Torsten, delivering a compelling, forceful performance and there's strong support from both Eero Milonoff and Annika Nordin as Torsten's wife, Karin.
The gritty script is excellent, particularly in the way it gradually reveals Torsten's relationships with both his fellow officers and the other townspeople. Similarly, Sundvall's direction is suitably atmospheric and the film benefits from a strong sense of place, thanks to Jallo Faber's chilly cinematography and some effective use of authentic locations.
In addition, Sundvall maintains a gripping level of tension throughout and the final act is genuinely chilling, even if the finale seems a little over-familiar.
Impressively directed and superbly acted, False Trail is an engaging and enjoyable Nordic Noir thriller that should appeal to fans of The Killing et al. Recommended.