Exit review (DVD)

Riding in on the coat-tails of the fact both stars are now appearing in major American TV shows is the Scandinavian film Exit, and while it publicises that fact that Mikkelsen and Skarsgard are both in main characters, it hides telling us the film was made in 2006. These are not the Mikkelsen and Skarsgard we know nowadays; instead they are fresh-faced and rather too young looking for us to take them seriously.

Mikkelsen plays CEO Thomas Skepphult, who is embroiled in a mysterious killing of his business partner William Rahmberg (Borje Ahlstedt), and has sent shockwaves through the company and the police believe Thomas is their main suspect. But when Thomas receives a call in prison from someone who used to work at their firm years earlier, his life starts to unravel. He has to rely on his friend and work colleague Fabian Von Klerking (Alexander Skarsgard), but even Fabian isn’t ready for what happens next.

Scandinavian crime is flavour of the year at present, so now seems the perfect time to release another crime film especially one starring two well known actors. Mikkelsen and Skarsgard are perfectly amicable in the film; in fact it’s more Mikkelsen that struggles here even though he is in the lead role. Alexander seems to relish the background role to the extent of his occasional appearances when needed. Neither displays the acting chops that they have since redeveloped. But that isn’t their fault but more down the flaccid script and direction, at times the story becomes far too involved in its own works than what’s going on around it and comes to a grinding stop that struggles to pick back up again.

The pace doesn’t zip along either but it also doesn’t keep you interesting throughout, instead feeling more like a dip in and out viewing that you would be no worse off if you missed ten minutes. It does have an interesting take at the end of the film, but by that time it’s lost the attention for us to truly care.

Exit is a fair Scandinavian crime drama, but it never fully grasps what it wants to say and gets bogged down in a sticky, talky middle that it doesn’t recover from. Nordic crime had to start somewhere, but maybe not so much with this.

EXTRAS ★★ A respectable making-of featurette (27:00), which includes old and new interviews with everyone concerned.

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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