Feels like a crime drama set in Scandinavia comes with a Nordic Noir tag, and while some – Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters for example – deserve their billing up there with The Killing et al, others feel like their tagging along for a ride.
So when along comes one courtesy of acclaimed director Lasse Hallström it’s surely worth a look. Sadly in this case not.
When a family is brutally stabbed to death, lone survivor Josef is of little use to the Police in his comatose state. So when Detective Joona Linna (Tobias Zilliacus) decides to enlist the help of disgraced Psychologist Erik Bark (Mikael Persbrandt) it’s not long before the pair are embroiled in a much more personal and dangerous case than it first appeared.
With a decent opening and premise it’s a shame Hallström can’t make more from the material meaning that, for the mid-section at least The Hypnotist makes a good fist at trying to send you to sleep. Throwing in some rather bland characterisation and a twist which anyone who saw The US Killing Season 4 on Netflix recently will recognise means there’s little original here to keep the interest.
A shame really, especially when Hallström saves the best for last, with a genuinely nail-biting and claustrophobic ice-strewn finale that wouldn’t feel out of place among the likes of Insomnia and Fargo.
However by then, having rolled out a number of crime/cop drama clichés and contrivances it seems many may have decided the lack of a man dancing like a chicken or appearing to soil himself means that title may have been a touch misleading for some or simply too dull for others.
Perhaps the planned American remake can, for once, improve matters.