Shortcutting… Nordic Noir

11 Jul

I have just finished the Season One box set of Borgen, and I am lost. What can I do now? Much as you no doubt felt when I had a short break from blogging, I feel empty. I have nothing to fill my evenings with. No more Birgitte Nyborg trying to figure out how to run Denmark, no more Katrine Fønsmark trying to find the truth behind every political debate, no more Kasper Juul being torn between loyalties and self-interest. Make no mistake: Borgen is awesome. I know some people have a problem with all things foreign and subtitled, but Borgen is the latest in a series of films/ t.v. shows that I am totally addicted to that I can only describe as Nordic Noir. This one’s a Danish political thriller type thing about Denmark’s first female prime minister, her spin doctor, and a tenacious female journalist. If blood and gore and sleuthing is more your thang, then head to The Killing (or Forbrydelsen): this one has a political side too: Season One follows Troels Hartmann in the middle of an election campaign to become mayor, and Season Two follows Justice Minister Thomas Buch, but the true star of the show is Sarah Lund, the workaholic sociopath detective who always spots what no one else does (just so you know when she’s onto something, there’s this piano music they always play when she’s figuring something out). The seasons are 20 episodes long, and you will  be guessing all the way through. Season One only has one killing in which might seem a bit tame but never fear, Season Two has them dropping like flies, left, right and centre. Another cool thing is that these two programmes both being Danish and all, they have a lot of the same actors, which is a fun game to play – omg look Philip is Strange!! (That’s the character’s name, he’s not just weird.)

To fill the Borgen-shaped hole in my life, next on the list is The Bridge: the bridge in question is the one between Denmark and Sweden, and as far as I know this is some kind of murder mystery involving detectives from both sides of the bridge, involving a Swedish woman incapable of emotion, and making Sarah Lund look like Miss Love and Compassion in comparison. The reason I’m so keen to watch it is because it’s been described to me as, wait for it, better than The Killing and Borgen. PUT TOGETHER!!! Omg ladies and gentlemen. O. M. G. On the subject of Sweden, I have also come across the Stieg Larsson series, you know, The Girl who etc. etc. I haven’t really watched that much of it, but I have been in close proximity to other people watching it, so I got an idea of the plot. My understanding is that, between all the sex and violence, there is a pretty gripping plot in there. However, if you’re not big on sex and violence, I definitely would not recommend it. It’s very 18, if that makes sense.

A word of warning: Nordic Noir is wonderful and amazing and gripping, but there’s a reason it’s not called Scandinavian Sunshine. It is dark. Brilliant, but dark (yes I realise that if we take these two adjectives literally this seems to be something of a paradox but let’s not be too pedantic now). So if you’re looking for a barrel of laughs, look away now (there is a fair bit of humour, but it’s dark humour obvs). But if you’re looking for rain and storm clouds and murder and crime and political turmoil then Nordic Noir is for you.

Keep shortcutting,

Zoe

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