(aka 'Forbrydelsens element" or "The Last Tourist in Europe')

directed by Lars von Trier
Denmark 19


  Lars von Trier’s stunning debut film is the story of Fisher, an exiled ex-cop who returns to his old beat to catch a serial killer with a taste for young girls. Influenced equally by Hitchcock and science fiction, von Trier (Zentropa, Breaking the Waves, The Idiots) boldly reinvents expressionist style for his own cinematic vision of a post-apocalyptic world. Shot in shades of sepia, with occasional, startling flashes of bright blue, The Element of Crime (Forbrydelsens Element) combines dark mystery and operatic sweep to yield a pure celluloid nightmare.


Theatrical Release: May 14th, 1984 - Denmark

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DVD Review: Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 80 - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:43;24 
Video 1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.29 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0) 
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion / Home Vision

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

•  Stig Björkman’s critically acclaimed 52-minute documentary Tranceformer: A Portrait of Lars von Trier (1997), with optional English subtitles
• Trailer
• 6-page liner notes with essay by Peter Cowie

DVD Release Date:
July 25th, 2000
Keep Case
Chapters: 18




Well, to be honest, I have no idea what this film is supposed to look like. I'm not a big fan of this "non-objective dog's breakfast" (to quote my old art teacher)  style of visuals. Red or yellow filters are used very aggressively. Sharpness doesn't seem to be there, nor contrast levels, but again I'm unsure if this is supposed to look this way. Audio was equally as befuddling to me. Maybe I am getting too old. Truly, I enjoyed the documentary on von Trier more than this (or most of his films). Being his first feature many of his legions of fans will opt for seeing... and believing.  

Gary W. Tooze


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CLICK to order from:

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 80 - Region 1 - NTSC




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