Nils (Stellan Skarsgård) doesn’t talk much. A snowplough driver by profession, and recently elected as the community’s ‘Man of the Year’, he’s more the kind of guy who skips the chitchat and gets right to the action – especially if he is upset, or angry, or both. And when his son suddenly dies of a heroin overdose, he is devastated and opts to take revenge.
His urge for personal vengeance soon becomes a dangerous threat not only for the gangsters responsible for his son’s death, who wrongly believed him to be engaged in a spurious drug scam. Rather, in the course of his investigations, he also shakes up the frosty relationship between the Norwegian drug Mafia and their Serbian opponents, which inevitably leads to a big showdown at Nils’s depot. To reveal much more of the story would take the fun out of Moland’s droll and deftly crafted crime thriller, but rest assured that the number of characters drops quickly once Nils gets into the flow of things.
Although the filmmaking is assured and the pace correspondingly brisk, keeping in line with its hero’s spirit, there is no denying that Moland reworks a well-tested formula here, which places his playful slice of Nordic noir at risk of running idle. He occasionally tries too hard to exploit the winning (and sometimes worrisome) simple-mindedness of some of the villains, while the initially amusing structure of the film (each death on screen is marked with an intertitle of a cross and the victim’s name) somewhat looses momentum towards the end. But you have to give it to Skarsgård for keeping a perfectly straight face throughout, while Moland makes excellent use of the crisp, snowy landscape that, as ever, serves as an appropriate setting for a staggering war of revenge.
Watch the trailer: