We find out the critic’s take on the new Nordic Noir from Iceland
The weather may not have been as welcome to the town’s residents or ferry passengers in Trapped. However, this icy reception has not translated to the UK audiences who tuned in to watch the first back-to-back episodes of the highly acclaimed Icelandic crime drama on Saturday night. Critics’ reviews reflect a positive opening to the compelling 10-part mystery:
“BBC4’s new weekend foreign-language thriller Trapped is overwhelmingly atmospheric. …A spell-binding chiller…” -⋆⋆⋆⋆ Martin Hoyle, Financial Times
“Fans of the Nordic noir genre will recognise a familiar air of oppressiveness but the forbidding Icelandic landscape adds a particular sense of claustrophobia as the driving snow traps the villagers and the investigation gathers intensity.” - Toby Dantzic, Daily Telegraph, Digital Choice
“This new subtitled Icelandic mystery fills the space left by Montalbano, and, like that series, its setting is partly the star. The snowy mountain backdrops are stunning, while the drama is played naturally and with a lot of suspense…” -⋆⋆⋆⋆ Daily Mail
In the first episode, the story unfolds with a tragedy. Dagný, later revealed to be the sister of Agnes (Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir), dies in a fire. We leap seven years later to see Chief of Police Andri (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), struggling as a single parent of two young girls Perla and Þórhildur. Jr. As he awaits the return of his estranged wife Agnes, his personal problems are quickly put aside to investigate the discovery of a severed corpse found off the coast of the fishing village. His colleague Hinrika (Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir) suspects the body is linked to the subsequent arrival of the Norröna Tórshavn ferry from Denmark, carrying 100 passengers. Time is running out as the impending storm begins cutting off the town from outside help in Reykjavik. With his orders to keep the crew aboard the ship, Andri is forced to wait and battle not only the elements but the suspiciously antagonistic Captain Carlsen (Bjarne Henriksen).
The second episode seamlessly carries on the nefarious narrative which places a prime perpetrator in custody, due to their involvement in human trafficking and connections to organised crime in Europe. Andri is feeling the pressure mounting from Mayor and former Police Chief Hrafn (Pálmi Gestsson) and local MP Fridrik (Magnús Ragnarsson); who want nothing more than their new “world class port” venture, that connects Iceland with America and China, to go ahead without compromise. Can Andri solve the crime in the midst of the tempestuous weather? Do the seven stab wounds in the body refer to the disastrous blaze seven years prior? Or will the mysterious ensemble of characters complete their deceptive plots under a snow-driven guise?
“Scandi-noir is covered in white, as this snow-packed offering arrives from Iceland. For all the threads that are flying around, this opening double bill is a mellow, slowly unfurling affair, with neat attention to detail. Scandi-nerds will be gratified to see that Carlsen by Bjarne Henriksen (Thorsen in Borgen, Theis Birk Larsen in The Killing). Scandi knitwear-watch; Andri’s colleague Hinrika has a lovely oversize cardigan, which could be the new Sarah Lund’s sweater. A promising start. Your new Saturday night Scandi serial is a slow burning Icelandic murder thriller. One town cut off by a blizzard; one killer at large. A deceptively simple premise done with all the chilly Nordic gloom we love.” – Alex Hardy, The Times, Critic’s Choice
“A gripping Icelandic thriller.” – Gerard Gilbert, The Independent – TV Pick of the Week
Once the suspense and the snow had settled from the launch of the new Scandi thriller at the weekend, even more praise has been awarded to Trapped’s impressive premiere this week:
“Slipping and sliding between bizarre crime thriller and human drama, Trapped has, thus far, got the balance just right” – Keith Watson, Metro
“If you like crime stories set in tightknit communities, from Broadchurch to Fargo, you won’t want to miss this.” – Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail - ⋆⋆⋆⋆
“Nordic maybe, but this is also most definitely, and proudly, Icelandic. Seductive, involving, gripping… I am already, thoroughly, trapped.” – Sam Wollaston, The Guardian
“Baltasar Kormákur’s story is busy with incidental pleasures. It may be the best of the shivery, subtitled imports.” – Andrew Billen, The Times - ⋆⋆⋆⋆
“Trapped was dark, dramatic, eerie, compelling and excellently acted. It’s set against a breath-taking Icelandic backdrop.” – Amy Burns, The Independent
“A superb and suspense-laden 10-part drama. The ideal drama to snuggle up with until spring arrives.” – Ceri Radford, Daily Telegraph - ⋆⋆⋆⋆
“What stands out is the uniqueness of the place and its people.” – Matt Baylis, Daily Express
Following its world premiere at TIFF 2015, the series is now catching with an international televised release. Trapped aired in France to an overwhelming five million viewers as the first four episodes were broadcast on the France 2 channel over the course of one night.
Trapped continues with episodes three and four on Saturday from 9pm on BBCFour