Is this taut Icelandic drama Nordic Noir’s next big hit?
Secrets and lies buried for decades are exposed when a police officer and a pair of lawyers examine the circumstances behind a teenage ballerina’s death. A routine investigation into an apparent suicide spirals outward in unexpected directions as the community discovers it has unwittingly harboured a terrible evil.
Following hot on the trail of Trapped, Case is the latest flowering of Icelandic TV’s creative renaissance. Lawyers Logi Traustason (Magnús Jónsson) and Brynhildur (Jóhanna Vigdís Arnardóttir) from the series The Court have left behind Law and Court Inc’s plush offices and are living very different lives while working on opposite side of the investigation. Both characters are forced to confront painful demons and put aside personal animosity as they join forces with detective Gabriella (Steinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir) to expose a horrific crime and smash a web of corruption which has infected every level of society.
Undeniably distinct and remorselessly intense Case is an emotionally potent multi-layered mystery. Densely plotted, the series’ real-life inspired narrative demonstrates that a single event has the power to wreck multiple lives. Constantly rewarding attentive viewers, it may be the most significant contribution to the genre since The Bridge.
Showcasing aspects of Icelandic society that tourists probably don’t suspect exists, an entire community is placed under the microscope as Case’s web of labyrinthine complexity exposes the ultimate evil. Friends become enemies and powerful forces are unleashed to crush the investigating trio.
A glacial-paced series in the vein of The Killing and Broadchurch, Case‘s detailed portrait of a township in denial is an emotionally potent and all too relevant exploration of complicity and consequences.
Unremittingly bleak, Case is perhaps the most outstanding series to hit the screens this year. A turning point for Nordic Noir, the genre will never be the same after its influence starts to spread. Elegant and effective drama with implications and repercussions woven into every scene.
Winner of multiple prizes including FIPA and EDDA Awards and a nomination at the C21 Drama Awards for Best non-English drama series, Case is a BAFTA worthy series stuffed with supreme performances from the cream of Icelandic screen talent.
Director Baldvin Z‘s feature films Jitters and Life in a Fishbowl demonstrated that he was adept at bringing emotional texture to the screen. His episodes of Trapped proved he could contrast immense spectacle with smaller, more intimate, character driven moments. Case represents the flourishing of a talent that will undoubtedly become a major player in the coming years.
Eschewing Nordic Noir’s trademark crepuscular gloom director Baldvin Z shot the series during Iceland’s summer when the sun never seems to set. The warm glow of natural light on a midsummer evening provides a stark contrast to the pitch-black horrors uncovered by Logi, Brynhildur, and Gabriella.
Case‘s first season is a persuasive sign that Iceland’s filmmakers may be leading future waves of the Nordic Noir screen invasion. An utterly gripping thriller that will get into your head and under your skin. You won’t be the same after watching it.
Here’s a selection of tracks from the soundtrack: