JORDSKOTT

PrintE-mail Written by Simon Besson

Given a superficial glance this Swedish ten-part drama is little more than another slick crime thriller from the recent stable of gritty 'nordic-noir' that has brought us the likes of Borgen and The Killing; and so it was billed in TV listings when it premièred in the UK on ITV Encore a couple of months ago, giving little away as to the true nature of this unique and compelling genre mash-up.

The opening scenes introduce our main protagonist Eva Thörnblad, a police detective tormented by the disappearance, presumed drowning, of her daughter seven years ago - played hauntingly by Mao Gammel whose performance, like the rest of the cast, has a sincerity and gravitas in keeping with the programme's solemn themes and gives the whole thing a naturalistic feel that makes the later twists and developments all the more surprising. Early on in the story, Eva has cause to return to her childhood home to deal with the estate of her recently deceased father from whom she became estranged after her tragic loss and it is here, in the town of Silverhöjd and its mysterious surrounding forests that the rest of the drama plays out and where things get very interesting.

By the end of the first episode it becomes clear that this is a singularly remarkable debut from creator Henrik Björn who has taken the conventional bleak crime drama format that the Scandinavians do so well and infused it with magic and mystery drawing on a wealth of Norse mythology and folklore while at the same time managing to keep it engaging and plausible. We have corrupt businesses plotting grand conspiracies here and a cat and mouse chase with a sinister killer there – ancient secrets and mysterious characters abound with echoes of David Lynch and the whole thing is very reminiscent of The X-Files at its dark, brooding best.

One of the most endearing things about Jordskott is how all the revelations and surprises are directed with an underplayed subtlety so that the story never descends into ridiculous fantasy while at the same time offering enough to elevate it above other, more conventional, shows. The editing is, at times, a bit too snappy – jumping from one scene to another like an impatient child but at least Björn could never be accused of resorting to the kind of clumsy plot explanation devices so often employed in, for example, American dramas so that the viewer is compelled to keep their eyes on the screen and their brains in gear. 

All told, from its beautifully rendered opening titles to the satisfying conclusion, Jordskott is ten hours of fantastic drama that you won't want to miss.

JORDSKOTT / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: HENRIK BJÖRN, ANDERS ENGSTRÖM / SCREENPLAY: DENNIS MAGNUSSON, FREDRIK T. OLSSON, ALEXANDER KANTSJÖ / STARRING: MOA GAMMEL, GÖRAN RAGNERSTAM, RICHARD FORSGREN / RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 17TH

 


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