Crimes of Passion review (DVD)

Crimes of Passion is the latest in an explosion of Nordic Noir. However, for all of its Marilyn Monroe figures, eccentric writers and frankly alcoholic men; the series has more in common with Agatha Christie than The Killing. For the first episode this seems to be a bad thing; however the pilot does an injustice to the other five episodes. As the series goes on it becomes compulsive watching.

The series focuses on Detective Christer Wjik (Rapace), his best friend Einar Bure (Wahlgren), and Einar’s girlfrend (later wife), Puck (Novotny). As Einar eventually points out, at every one of Puck or Christer’s life events there seems to be a murder.

Wjik is essentially a crime-fighting Don Draper. This is further entrenched by the familiar silhouette theme animation that also opens Mad Men. However Wjik has a twist- as an unmarried man, his broad sexual tastes seem less repulsive than those of Draper. However Wjik’s choices still have plenty of room to be questioned; since he seems to only go for women key to the case he is currently investigating.

Despite its reliance of Mad Men-style characters, Crimes of Passion manages to present an intriguing and original view of a 1950s world. It is thick with cigarette holders, Campbell Soup Warhol-style, sculpted dresses, dramatic screams on the discovery of murder victims, buzzing cars, soft jazz, cats named after Egyptian pharaohs, and tarot cards.
The series spans several years in which we follow the three main passionate and flawed characters through a range of life experiences and thrilling adventures. It uses a variety of styles to tell a series of stories filled with dark sensuality.

Crimes of Passion is a good watch, not spectacular, but comforting with the rhythm of a good mystery. So give it a go, but remember: “There are nightmares in the woodwork.”


Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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