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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

False Trail (Jägarna 2) (review)

False Trail yellow light Peter Stormare Kim Tjernstrom

I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

A group of armed men setting off at dawn into the wilderness for an organized hunt. An air of mystery and suspense hanging over the scene, a sort of heightened ironic awareness of an ordinariness that is, perhaps, not so ordinary after all? Cut to a bloodied woman stumbling through a woods, clearly in fear for her life. *gulp* Is this a Most Dangerous Game deal? Are the hunters hunting people for sport? Alas, False Trail turns out to be a much more commonplace kind of crime story — any irony I perceived was pure wishful thinking. The good stuff starts with the chilly rough elegance of the study of a rural Swedish town as sketched via the interactions between the local small-town cop (Peter Stormare) and the Stockholm investigator (Rolf Lassgård) brought into help look into the disappearance — and, we and they presume, the murder — of that bloodied woman. Theirs is an uneasy alliance not only because of the usual cop pissing contests and territorial concerns but because they have complicated family entanglements, too; director Kjell Sundvall whips the soap opera that makes their relationship tricky and the low Swedish sun and long woodsy shadows into a grimly appealing instance of Nordic noir. All the logging trucks rumbling through every other scene reminded me of nothing so much as Twin Peaks… though instead of an extra kick of weird black magic, but have here nothing more than a crime that comes down to a very familiar tale of how men mistreat women and bullies subjugate everyone around them. It all drags on a bit longer than strictly necessary, too. Still, if you’re weary of Stormare’s one-dimensional Hollywood villains (ahem, The Last Stand) — or in case you were under the mistaken impression that he was from Minnesota or something — here’s a chance to see him in his natural environment and much more truly disturbing than he usually is permitted to be.

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watch at home

False Trail (Jägarna 2) (2012)
UK/Ire release: Dec 14 2012

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated NN (contains strong Nordic noir)
BBFC: rated 15 (contains strong language, twice very strong, strong violence & gory images)

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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