Semi-retired police officer Ingimundur (Sigurdsson) is sad but stoic as he grieves the loss of his wife. His close relationship with his precocious granddaughter Salka (Hlynsdottir) helps lighten his mood, it is only with her that he smiles. Still, there is inner torment in the man, which starts bubbling up ominously when he makes a random discovery and starts to suspect his wife was unfaithful to him. As Ingimundur investigates further, his grief gradually transforms into anger and obsession, and we dread where it may all lead.
Director Palmason’s fabulous slow-burn revenge drama is fueled by two superb performances and a heady atmosphere of foreboding. In the central role, Sigurdsson gives a subtly shaded turn that morphs from barely maintained control to outright rage; his intensity is no less astonishing for being so believable. Even so, young Hlynsdottir almost steals the film as a wise but innocent child who is much too close to the action. The stark Icelandic landscape and sober mood of its characters reinforce the prevailing sense of dread. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a truly suspenseful, well-constructed thriller, here’s your movie.