Cinema Review – False Trail

When a woman is murdered in northern Sweden, a detective is sent from Stockholm to try and solve the case. What he finds when he arrives, however, is a town living in fear, but is it fear of the police or the man who (supposedly) committed the crime?

False Trail (Jargana 2) is a long awaited sequel to the 1996 movie, Hunters. The good news is that viewing the original is not essential to following the story of False Trail. There has been a slew of Scandanavian thrillers of late – including the fantastic TV show The Bridge – but False Trail is not one of the few that will distinguish itself from the many.

The story starts out well and appears to be heading towards a whodunit type scenario, but the elongated running time means that by the time the audience is finally told whodunit, they have already figured that out and lost interest.

Rolf Lassgard resumes his role from the original as detective Backstrom, and he, along with Peter Storemare as Torsten, creates a strong back and forth as they debate and argue about who did what and why. Sadly, Stormare’s strong performance is totally undermined in his final few moments on screen as the character disintegrates from a strong, brutish bully into a man who would rather run away from his problems than face them. Stormare is better than this, but he is let down by lazy writing.

Eero Milinoff could have been the great villain of the piece, but instead he is reduced to leering at people from under a mane of greasy hair. Annika Nordin, however, seems to be the most rounded character of the lot; a strong woman who is living in fear but is sure that clever use of her sexuality will save her in the end.

Director Kjell Sundvall builds the tensions and intrigue throughout the first half of the film, only to let is trickle away in the second. After the false ending, everything is so clearly spelled out and predictable that the audience may be left wondering why they are watching the film, since they can already guess how it is going to end. The original film was wildly popular on home turf, but this sequel is surely a let down to fans of the franchise.

False Trail could have been one of the great, if underrated, crime thrillers to emerge from Sweden. Instead, the film is bloated and a little self indulgent with strong performances descending into over the top cowardice. There are some good moments in there, but not enough to save the film from itself.

Rating: 3/5

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