Swedish detective Jonas Engstrom (Skarsgard) is sent to Norway to help solve the murder of a teenage girl. Arriving in the land of the midnight sun, he is taunted by the bright light and unable to sleep. He and his partner Vik (Ousdal) close in on the murderer, but a fatal error leaves Vik dead and Engstrom holding the gun. Covering up the accident, Engstrom becomes increasingly unhinged as guilt and the incessant sunlight start to oppress his mind and affect his actions.
Two key factors elevate this film to excellence: first, director Skjoldbjaerg’s cool, “film blanc” palate and ingenious use of light. Second, Skarsgard’s compelling central performance grabs and holds our attention. As the noir anti-hero, Skarsgard triumphs as a morally dubious detective, his face a mask of shameful determination. As a Swede in Norway, his Engstrom is the ultimate outsider, out of place, unable to hide- even from his own guilt. The sun becomes a metaphor for conscience, and Skjoldbjaerg contrasts the bright visuals with the dark element of human desperation. A taut, tight psychological thriller, this Norwegian original will burn itself onto your brain. Indeed, you may need a sleeping pill after seeing it.