VOD film review: Brave Men’s Blood
Interest in a follow-up7
Ian Loring | On 05, May 2016
Director: Olaf de Fleur Johannesson
Cast: Darri Ingolfsson, Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir, Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson, Zlatko Krickic
Watch Brave Men’s Blood online in the UK: Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play
Scandinavian crime dramas have been quite the hit on the small screen over the last few years, but it doesn’t feel like they have made much of an impact in cinema – The Girl with… series being a notable exception (it’s interesting to bear in mind that Dragon Tattoo aside, the other two films were made for TV in their home country). The rise of VOD seems to be something that could benefit foreign language film in general and Brave Men’s Blood is an example, a film which may not quite belong in your multiplex but certainly does what is required of it when sat on your sofa.
If this sounds like damning with faint praise, that is appropriate. Its narrative of a policeman discovering corruption in uncomfortably close quarters has been played out pretty much throughout the history of cinema, so while there are points of interest surrounding this main plot, what the film is primarily concerned with is something just not all that involving. People with mysterious motives, betrayals and tragic killing all appear in standard issue, as box-ticking is done with the odd narrative flourish.
Lead character Hannes, played by Darri Ingolfsson, is an endearing presence, his slightly-more-everyman-Ryan-Gosling looks clashing well with the increasing darkness engulfing him. You certainly get behind him, but the actual details of the story are all thoroughly derivative and not much surprises.
Shades of grey are attempted, however, in the depiction of nominal bad guy Sergej, played by Zlatko Krickic. The idea of a villain is played with here, as time is spent with him and his family; the idea of everyone having someone they have to answer to becomes ever more present as the film draws towards its end. It’s a shame the film doesn’t concentrate more on this aspect throughout.
The sense of people pulling the strings in the background pervades and the Scandinavian clouds and chilly cinematography help in emphasising this encroaching doom. Indeed, if there were a sequel, the ending sets things up in a way that it would very likely be more interesting than this entire project. Saying this, at a brief 94 minutes, director Olaf de Fleur Johannesson knows to keep the runtime relatively lean, tell the story he wants to tell and quit while he’s just about ahead. Brave Men’s Blood is certainly not a world-shaker but for fans of crime drama, it offers enough of interest to justify a watch.
Brave Men’s Blood is released in the UK as part of the EU-wide Walk This Way VOD initiative. For more information, click here.