Seriously Stylish Icelandic Crime Film

Jar City (2006) - [released in the UK in 2008]

Although its' been out for ages, I only saw this recently on the BBC on a late night in November.

I will be honest, just saw the words 'crime' and 'Icelandic' and was sold already - but it turned out to exceed all my expectations.

As opposed to my 'normal' Scandinavian crime series viewing, this was a full length film, thus giving ample time for a complex and many-layered plot to emerge.

'Jar City' is called 'Mýrin' ("The Bog") in Icelandic, and is directed by Baltasar Kormákur. It is based on the novel of the same name, written by Arnaldur Indriðason.

I am always surprised by Iceland as the population of the whole country (319,000) is less than the size of the population of Edinburgh (448, 600) [my hometown]. Yet, the quality of art and film productions seems to be incredibly high.

Oppressive and bleak scenery throughout, 'Jar City' has a cold and isolated feel - which lends itself perfectly to the plot and conveys the sparsely-populated, lonely, (and yet strangely comforted and contented in the loneliness) atmosphere of Iceland.

Wikipedia beautifully avoids spoilers by saying: "A world-weary cop comes to believe a recent murder of an elderly man is linked to a case of rape three decades earlier and works to put the pieces together." Yep. That pretty much sums it up.

Moody soundtrack, blueish tinted frames and gritty, heart-felt acting make this one of my favourite films of all time.

The film was awarded the Crystal Globe Grand Prix at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2007, although I feel it deserves more - especially as Iceland is such a small place, but clearly so stuffed with talent.

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