July 4, 2016

VOD Review: The Absent One (2014)

"Department Q Part 2 is better than the first one."

A few weeks back, we discovered a Nordic Noir called The Keeper of Lost Causes (review HERE.) The first movie in the Department Q trilogy, we really dug everything about it, and so we immediately knew that we had to see its sequels.

The second movie in the trilogy, The Absent One, is every bit as good as its predecessor, and if we're being honest, it's better in some ways. It's also a lot darker, and it doesn't quite end on a happy note, but hey, we don't really expect all that much happiness when it comes to Nordic/Scandi Crime Thrillers.

Maybe that's why we like them so much.

Even after solving the case and saving the life of a politician that everyone besides Morck and Assad thought was dead (in the first movie), their Department Q is still treated like a joke by the entire department. In fact, they're refereed to as "The Drunk and The Arab" by their peers, because their peers are jealous assholes! It probably doesn't help matters that Carl Morck is still as icy and laconic to everyone, including their new secretary, as he ever was.

After Morck turns away a desperate father who begs him to take a look at the decades-old case of the murder of his twin children, the guy commits suicide. Even though he and Assad have piles of cold cases to sort through, he decides to investigate the man's claims, because he feels guilty as hell. As usual, everyone else but Assad thinks that he's wasting his time investigating something that isn't there, but he's a man on a mission, and he won't be dissuaded.

With the help of their new secretary (who turns out to be smart as a whip in addition to being a sexy redhead), they discover that a gang of privileged kids at a boarding school might have been up to some shady shit, such as rape, murder, and playing hooky, none of which leads to anything good for anyone.

Good old fashioned Nordic dysfunction ensues.

In some ways, a movie like The Absent One is a pretty by-the-numbers affair; you pretty much know that you're in for 2-hours of watching some Cops unravel a crime, and that the case is going to be solved by the end. That's alright though, because it's the characters that are really the payoff here. Sure, we love the dark mystery of it all, but the interactions between Morck and Assad (or Morck and anyone, for that matter), are what make these films so enjoyable for us.

As with the first one, we get to see the story from two different timelines: One shows us Department Q in the process of solving the mystery; while the other shows us the crimes as they happened. The melding of the two works well, and with the disturbing nature of the story, ratchets up the tension to a fairly palpable level.

Nikolaj Lie Kaas does a great job of playing the troubled, anti-social Carl Morck, and the relationship that he has with his assistant Assad (played equally as well by Fares Fares) is what makes these movies tick. Morck is a self-destructive but brilliant detective, and you can see him struggling with trying to better himself, become more social, and it's fascinating to watch his journey towards what we hope will be some sort of salvation.

Pilou Asbaek makes for a convincing villain for Morck and Assad to face off against, as there's a quiet intensity about him that just screams bad guy. We've been fans of his since watching him on Borgen, and we're glad to see his star is rising with a key role on Game of Thrones. If he keeps playing roles like this, he'll become even more widely known.

Murder, rape, people being beaten with pipes, people being set on fire, and a really disturbing twist that went to a rather dark place, The Absent One is significantly more violent and gory that the first movie was.

There was more nudity and sex in this movie that we thought there would be, considering that the first movie was basically devoid of the stuff.

Rich kids at exclusive boarding schools are always evil on the inside. Also, the troubled girls always fall for them, because they love bad boys and all. 

The second movie in the Department Q Trilogy, The Absent One felt a lot more seedy and disturbing than the first movie did, and that's a good thing. It's definitely a tougher movie to stomach due to the violent sexual nature of some of the crimes, but it's handled with a level of sensitivity that makes it tolerable, especially since you know that Carl Morck will get his man by the time all is said and done, and make them pay.

We loved this one, and we can't wait to check out the third movie. We hope that there will be more to come after that.


The Absent One is available on VOD now,


Hot Danish chicks, anyone?

No comments :

Post a Comment