Midnight Sun

From its startling opening scene, it’s obvious that Midnight Sun is going to deliver.

A man is tied to the rotor blades of a helicopter in the isolated tundras of the Arctic Circle. He screams as it begins to spin, until he is little more than a headless corpse, spun mercilessly in a torturous death scene.

This French-Swedish drama ticks the boxes that we have come to expect from Scandi-noir. Dark themes, layered characters, strong visuals, and an affinity for binge-viewing.

The murder of the nameless man triggers the investigation by Swedish prosecutor Rutger Burlin (Peter Stormare). He is juggling an imperfect marriage and is disappointed to be assigned Anders (Gustaf Hammarsten) as his deputy for the case. But he knows this is a killer that must be stopped.

Anders has his own challenges, surrounding his daughter Jessika (Karolina Furberg) and is amusingly introduced trying to lift an unloved stove from a local tip -it’s that kind of show.

Without giving too much away, the corpse turns out to be a French national, which leads us to our other key protagonist, Kahina Zadi (Leila Bekhti). When her estranged son turns up on her doorstep and triggers feelings of guilt, she is happy to be assigned to the case and the isolated town of Kiruna. Kahina is a woman on the run….

What she discovers in the mining town is, aside from the stark title nod to a sun that doesn’t set, disruption. There are cracks in the soil, an entire town to be relocated, a powerful company and disharmony amongst the community.

Whilst the opening episode shifts between French & Swedish locales, there are grisly scenes that keep things moving and prevent it from slipping into claustrophobia. When our two lead cops also meet, there is the added bonus that both must rely on English dialogue. Created by directors Mårlind & Stein (The Bridge) the series will actually zero in on Kahina & Anders.

The setting makes Midnight Sun all the more captivating, cleverly contrasting the bright backdrop with its sinister themes. One of Scandi-fans and others yet to explore its many attributes.

Midnight Sun premieres with a double episode 9:35pm Thursday on SBS.

8 Comments:

  1. Silly opening scene-if a chopper’s blades are unbalanced, things get very bad for the aircraft very quickly-might appear to be ‘cool’ but utterly preposterous way to kill someone.

  2. I have seen the show and it could easily become a binge watch for those who enjoyed The Bridge, the mysticism of the killings is used quite well further showcasing the quality original writing coming from Norway and Sweden. The indigenous subplot may surprise some which also adds to the shows attraction. If I was to recommend anything I would suggest viewing the online version so that you can see more than one episode. SBS have a good idea with their streaming of whole seasons.

    I suspect that the USA will remake this show as they did The Bridge, Netflix maybe.

  3. jezza the first original one

    My missus refuses to watch subtitled TV or movies, which is a little frustrating. Difficult for me to watch at my office as I would end up doing zero work….

  4. Saw another ad for this last night, but again only promoting it being available online, nothing about the Thursday premiere. Short of possibly being able to charge more for the online in-program ads as you can’t skip them, I’m at a loss.

  5. Thanks for the promising review David – wasn’t even aware it was getting a FTA airing imminently, just the endless promotion for it being available online. One of the few foreign-language dramas they deem worthy of airing before 11pm these days although presumably they’ll plough through it in double eps.

    Its an odd model they’ve moved to, they buy countless foreign dramas and make them available online which is positive, but inevitably they drop them on FTA late night with zero promotion and churn through them in double eps, just so they can get to giving the next online purchase a FTA airing. Hard to see much breaking through to get even steady word of mouth like a Les Revenants, Bridge or Killing.

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