Directed and co-written by Gustav Möller. Released October 2018.

EUROPE

I spotted this Danish thriller on Netflix UK, and settled down with a cuppa to watch, demanding that the husband pause progress on his ongoing Breaking Bad-marathon. I wasn’t sure whether this film was particularly representative of Danish film, and I still don’t really know the answer to that, but Lars von Trier it is not. Thankfully.

The set of this film is probably one of the most pared back that I’ve ever encountered. All we see is the interior of a two-room office. Throughout the bulk of the movie the viewer watches a deskbound policeman, Asger Holm (played by Jakob Cedergren), process the equivalent of 999 distress calls from members of the public.

So far so boring huh? Except this film is edge of the seat thrilling.

That the film manages to hold us in its thrall for 85 minutes without showing us anything beyond Asger’s office, his desk, his computer screen and his phone, is testament to its power. It excels at building up suspense and tension, in concert with clever use of sound and lighting.

We know nothing about the policeman beyond the fact that he seems not to be someone who is normally stuck at a desk fielding calls. He is uncomfortable and tense from the start, before he has any obvious cause to be. He takes a few routine calls: a drug-addled member of the public, a minor mishap. Then a woman’s frightened voice comes on the line. She is captive in a vehicle.

From that point on twists and turns abound as Asgard tries to do the right thing, refusing to go home at the end of his shift, refusing to simply hand over to another team and hope for the best. Meanwhile, there are hints that something has gone wrong in his career already.

The film was selected as the Danish entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, and it was one of the shortlisted films, eventually losing out to Mexican film Roma.

If you’re having a Netflix and chill kind of evening you could make a worse choice than to watch this film. Though you might be so engrossed that you forget to chill – in any sense of the word!

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