June 14, 2016

VOD Review: Dept. Q: The Keeper of Lost Causes (2013)

"Denmark sure knows how to do Noirish Thrillers."

There's just something about Thrillers that captivate us like no other kind of film can. Movies like Memories of Murder, Marshland, The Treatment, The Silence, or Red Riding, to name a few, have this bleak, gritty feel about them, and they have no problem getting down in the dirt to tell their stories... which are usually a combination of shocking, disturbing, and heartbreaking.

Movie like this usually involve a Cop (or maybe a reporter, or some random person out for justice), who delves into some kind of heinous crime, only to become obsessed and lose a part of themselves in the process.

We're not nihilists or anything, but there's just something about that kind of storyline that speaks to us. Many times, the best of these films come out of Europe or Asia. Maybe they're all nihilists?

With all of that in mind, I wanted to take a minute to talk about this Danish Thriller I saw a while back called The Keeper of Lost Causes. It, along with its two sequels, are hitting VOD this Friday, and we wanted to call attention to it, as it's one of those movies that a lot of people might miss otherwise.

Based on the first book in the Q Series, The Keeper of Lost Causes is the story of Carl Morck; a detective in Copenhagen whose mistake destroys the lives of he and two other Cops. After returning from a leave, he's relegated to working Cold Case files in Department Q, as his abilities are questioned, and no one wants to work with him. Well, they do give him a new partner, so maybe one person. 

When he finds the Cold Case of a female politician who supposedly jumped to her death from a moving ferry, something doesn't sit right with him, and so he beings to dig into the case, which pisses everyone off, and could cost he and his new partner both their jobs and their lives.

Nordic Noir ensues. 

As an American, it's always fascinating to me to see how other cultures around the world live. In the case of movies like this, how their Police Departments behave, and how people respond to tragic crimes is interesting. Maybe The Keeper of Lost Causes doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as top notch Thrillers like Memories of Murder or Se7en, but it sure is unique and effective enough to come close. So maybe it does, at least in a way.

This movie is a bit unique in that it tells its story from both the perspective of both the detectives and the victim at the same time, and not in a "cheap gimmick" sort of way. If anything, that device served to ratchet up the tension as the story went on. Speaking of tension, the last 15 minutes or so of the movie, when the Cops are closing in on the truth, is pretty intense, especially given how procedural and relaxed the rest of the movie was.

We're not very familiar with the cast, but we do know Nikolaj Lie Kaas from his role on The Killing (the Danish version), and he's compelling here as the broken detective Morck. Fares Fares is also great as his partner, Assad, as he provides a perfect balance to Morck's doom and gloom attitude. Sonja Richter (When Animals Dream) was also really solid as Merete, a role which looked pretty demanding. Nice job all around by the actors.

If you like Crime Thrillers of the creepy Serial Killer variety, and if you don't mind watching movies with subtitles (which you shouldn't), then The Keeper of Lost Causes should be right in your wheelhouse. It's not all that action-packed, but the way that its mystery unravels kept us on the edge of our seats, especially as the movie wore on. A very solid Nordic Noir, overall.

Give it a rent when it hits VOD on Friday.


The Keeper of Lost Causes is on import DVD now, and it hits VOD on 6/17.


Sonja Richter, Patricia Schumann, and Marijana Jankovic are in this.


  1. Thanks for this! I'm a big fan of these types of films and mini-series that come from Sweden/Norway/Denmark, etc...They always play it straight and have a dark, cold and bleak feel to them. They are generally drenched in atmosphere as well, which I love. This one totally missed my radar so I'll be on it!

  2. I love this thriller series. The third film is the best one yet, IMO. All of them are definitley worth watching, though. Superb actors (Fares Fares is fantastic as per usual), lots of atmosphere and interesting stories.

  3. We love that kind of thing too, chay. We will be catching the 2nd and 3rd movies when they hiit VOD on Friday.

  4. Up until now there have been six novels in this series. I'm hoping all of the books will be turned into films. As long as the actors are willing to continue, I believe it's quite possible that might happen. The film series is doing very well in Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia, but also - and maybe even more important - in the bigger European countries like Germany, France, The Netherlands etc.

  5. Thanks for the review I'll probably be watching this.

  6. Finally getting arounf to these. I'm only 12 minutes in and can already tell this is going to good. I think alot of it just has to do with the lighting. They make it so realistically dark anytime they are in doors, instead of blasting everything with tons of light like an American production would be. Looks very much like Se7en in that way.

  7. "See you in a year"......(WTF!?! Can't even imagine that shit.)