Mýrin (2006)

Jar City is a smart, Icelandic cop drama.

After a known criminal is murdered in his home, the police force's top detective - kind of a European version of Clint Eastwood - Erlendur begins a labyrinthine quest through 30 years of crime to find the killer. Our protagonist is also battling demons at home as his street living daughter seeks sanctuary in his home. His detective helpers are entertaining and the dark story is balanced with some light moments.

It's clear that the film is based on a novel as the story layers drip with questions and meaning. Issues of rape, disease, privacy laws, vengeance, law enforcement, and parenthood are chaffed against each other in new ways.

The acting is impeccable. The pacing is intelligent as we aren't left in a dusty fog and yet we never have time to yawn either; I think the cinematography had a lot to do with it as it didn't move too quickly, though much was happening on screen.

Iceland isn't too often depicted in films that I get to see. The Calgary crowd I watched this film with audibly gasped when Erlendur spoons out the eyes of stewed sheep's heads. I couldn't help but wonder if this nordic culinary penchant had anything to do with the strange genetic illness related to the mystery.

Truth: Concealing past sins can only cause heartache for future generations who try to grapple with the reasons for their own dysfunction.

Official Site | IMDB

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