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(aka "Arne Dahl: Misterioso" or "Arne Dahl: Ont Blod" or "Arne Dahl: Upp till Toppen av Berget" or "Arne Dahl: Europa Blues" )

 

directed by Harald Hamrell, Mani Masserat, Jörgen Bergmark, Tova Magnusson, Niklas Ohlson, and Mattias Ohlsson
Sweden 2012

 

Following the massive success of the TV/film adapations of Stieg Larsson's "Millenium Trilogy" and the series THE KILLING (and its American remake) comes the latest "Nordic Noir" ARNE DAHL, based on a series of bestselling novels by Jan Arnald (using the titular pen name) centering on investigations by Swedish CID's "Team A" consisting of CID prosecutor Jenny Hultin (Irene Lindh, A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH) and recruited cops Paul Hjelm (Shanti Roney, OLDBOYS), Kristen Holm (Malin Arvidsson, MOUTH TO MOUTH), Viggo Norlander (Claes Ljungmark, BEFORE THE STORM), Aarto Söderstedt (Niklas Ĺkerfelt, WHEN ONCE WE WALKED), Jorge Chavez (Matias Varela, EASY MONEY), and Gunner Nyberg (1998 World's Strongest Man Magnus Samuelsson) who balance their harried personal lives with their brutal professional ones.

A series of brutal assassinations of Swedish financiers brings the group together in "Misterioso" (for some reason titled "The Blinded Man" on the British release). While suspended cop Hjelm looks into the extracurricular associations the victimshave in common - including the animosity created by five prospective victims splitting off from a medieval masonic order - and discovers a heinous crime, Aarto suspects a serial killer rather than a professional hit while Norlander places himself in direct peril following leads that tie to a Russian mobster (Mait Malmsten). Holm looks into a lead tied to bootleg vodka while Chavez follows a musical clue involving an ultra-rare holy grail of a recording of a Thelonious Monk performance (the titular "Misterioso"). Theory after theory falls through with each new killing sending the investigators on a desperate search for social or business associations to tie things together.

Team A is back in "Bad Blood" when a Swedish film critic is found murdered in Newark, New Jersey. His torture/murder matches the modus operandi of the "Kentucky Killer" who has eluded capture in the states for over thirty years and has claimed more than twenty-four victims (with a break in between). Having cancelled the critics ticket home and taken his spot under an assumed identity, the killer slips past the team at the airport in Arlanda and seems to resumed his crimes in Sweden. What first seem like false leads reveals a more complex picture of the killer while also exposing dubious operations by other agencies. In their home lives, Hjelm worries about his son's behavior, Nyberg is conflicted over contacting his children after fifteen years, Holm begins a relationship with a priest (Carl Kjellgren), Norlander finds his virility strangely revived after his near-death experience in "Misterioso", and Hultin reconnects romantically with FBI agent Larner (George Harris, LAYER CAKE) when he comes to Sweden to collaborate on the manhunt.

The car-bombing of a Swedish automobile in Amsterdam sets things in motion in "On Top of the Mountain" as the team try to discover the connection between a Dutch gang, the "hate crime" article-writing journalist who owned the car, its passengers (including a drug squad undercover agent), and a restaurant belonging to a celebrity chef (Jacob Nordenson, THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST) with friends in high places. Nyberg has been helping out Sara Svenhagen (Vera Vitali, BLIND) on a child pornography case, and is in for a shock when he rejoins the team on the case. Outside of work, Holm is grieving for her dead lover, Hjelm continues to deal with marital strife, Norlander discovers that he's a "baby daddy" as the result of his one night stand with Astrid (Sannamari Patjas), and Nyberg and Chavez clash over their shared interest in Sara.

In "Many Waters", Svenhagen has not only been recruited to Team A, she has also become Mrs. Chavez. Hjelm and Holm are loaned out to internal affairs to investigate the shooting of an illegal immigrant - who happened to also be the son of the Minister of Health of Nigeria - by officer Dag Lundmark (Henrik Norlén, CRUSHED) who was one engaged to Holm. Lundmark vanishes after the first interrogation, and the search is sidetracked when a self-proclaimed "master thief" (Per Sandberg, UNDER THE SUN) leads Norlander and Soderstadt to a dead man whose suspicious suicide note announces that he was a serial killer and reveals the location of the bodies. Holm is taken off of the Lundmark case because her personal involvement is clouding her judgement, but she does not reveal that her ex seems to be unhinged and stalking her. While Hjelm and Svenhagen lead the search for the bodies, Norlander and Soderstadt try to track down the thief to find out his connection to the dead man (whose death was not a suicide), and Chavez and Nyberg investigate connection of the dead immigrant to a mysterious pharmaceuticals company.

The first season closes out with "Europa Blues" in which the brutal murder of a Jewish neurobiologist (Fredrik Ohlsson, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO) in a Jewish cemetery above the grave of an unknown corpse takes Soderstedt to Turin to question a corrupt banker (Venantino Venantini, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD) and to Weimar to investigate WWII-era Nazi pain center experiments. Back in Sweden, Hjelm and Norlander look into the doctor's family background and reads his diaries of concentration camp captivity, Holm and Svenhagen search for the connection of the dead man to six Ukranian refugees while Nyberg and Chavez investigate the death of a man fed to wolverines in the local zoo. Hultin finds herself having to make a difficult decision when the higher-ups want the unit to function with three lesser team members. In their personal lives, Hjelm and his wife (Frida Hallgren) contemplate ending their marriage, Nyberg connects romantically with a linguistics expert, Norlander develops a phobia to radioactivity in his cellphone, Holm goes through bureaucratic red tape to gain custody of her long-lost son, Soderstadt inherits knowledge of a tragic legacy along with three million kroner from a great uncle, and Chavez and Svenhagen reach an impasse over the issue of having children.

The five two-parter miniseries have been released separately in their native Sweden but are collected in a boxed set in the UK as "The Complete First Season". Hopefully, this means that there are indeed additional installments intended (although there is no listing of additional titles at IMDb yet), as a lot is left up in the air at the conclusion of episode ten (the second part of "Europa Blues") including the various family issues, Hultin's decision of who's out, and the running whimsical supernatural element involving the unit office's Persian (not Iranian) cleaning man Aram Razai (César Sarachu, THE PIANO TUNER OF EARTHQUAKES). As thrilling as the stories are, the details of the characters' personal lives can sometimes be trying for the viewer, Hultin's random pairings assignments of investigators to look into various angles of the cases seems contrived for personal drama or comic relief more than their skillsets, and of course the way that the characters are assigned to seemingly unrelated crimes and incidents somehow that all end up tying to the main case is a little far-fetched, yet here it manages to be less tired and more entertaining than in just about every episode of every series of LAW & ORDER.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 27 December 2011 (Sweden)

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DVD Review: Arrow Video - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Arrow Video

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 14h 46m (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.9 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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

Bitrate

Audio Swedish/English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• DISC ONE: 'THE BLINDED MAN (aka MISTERIOSO)'
• - Episode 1 (16:9; 1:28:36)
• - Episode 2 (16:9; 1:28:36)
• DISC TWO: 'BAD BLOOD' (aka ONT BLOD)
• - Episode 1 (16:9; 1:28:42)
• - Episode 2 (16:9; 1:28:42)
• DISC THREE: 'ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN' (aka UPP TILL TOPPEN AV BERGET)
• - Episode 1 (16:9; 1:28:39)
• - Episode 2 (16:9; 1:28:42)
• DISC FOUR: 'MANY WORDS' (aka DE STÖRSTA VATTEN)
• - Episode 1 (16:9; 1:28:33)
• - Episode 2 (16:9; 1:28:36)
• DISC FIVE: 'EUROPA BLUES'
• - Episode 1 (16:9; 1:28:27)
• - Episode 2 (16:9; 1:28:27)

DVD Release Date: June 10th, 2013
Amaray

Chapters 6

 

Comments

The five dual-layer discs in Arrow's set feature five stories comprised of two ninety-minute episodes each (the first story was apparently also released in a two-hour feature version) divided into six unlabeled chapters each. All episodes have the same bitrate, which seems sufficient for three hours of material on each DVD9. The Swedish audio is 2.0 stereo only with optional English subtitles. There are no extras.

The availability of a three-disc Blu-ray edition is mentioned in the press release, but may have been delayed as their is no Amazon link for it (and no entry at all for the ARNE DAHL series at Arrow Films' site or their "Nordic Noir" sub-site).

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Arrow Video

Region 2 - PAL

 




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