Trapped: Season One
Created by Baltasar Kormákur.
Starring Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Ilmur Kristjánsdottir, Ingvar Sigurðsson, Nina Dögg Filipusdottir, Bjarne Henriksen and Björn Hlynur Haraldsson.
In a remote town in Iceland, local police desperately try to solve a crime as a powerful storm descends upon the town.
The recent success of Trapped – or if you’re feeling like brushing up on your Icelandic, Ófærð – on TV screens could be put down to many things. Many will have been drawn to the promise of a tightly scripted whodunnit mystery, while others may find the prospect of a darkly humorous examination of Icelandic sociological problems something to discover. Most won’t have tuned in for the weather, which in Icelandic terms is truly something; the elemental forces impacting on human life at every turn. Forcing them onto land, freezing their bones and covering up evidence of the most grisly of crimes…
But whatever the reason is for discovering this show, it is ultimately all for the good as it is a real class act.
The series focuses on a remote Icelandic town and its reaction to a mutilated, dismembered corpse washing up on the shore. The discovery coincides with the arrival of a Danish ferry, so naturally the local police, led by Andri (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), assume there to be some kind of a connection. As the ferry’s passengers and crew are kept on the island due to extreme storms and the ongoing investigation, it soon becomes clear that everyone, whether on the ferry or in the town, is a suspect.
The acting in the show is fantastic; every character is brought out in full, with their own motivations and various reasons for behaving as they do. The police team of Andri and his assistants Hinrika Ilmur Kristjánsdottir and Ásgeir Ingvar Sigurðsson are the binding force in the community and the show as a whole. Andri, played with a wounded thoughtful expressiveness by Ólafsson, is the figurehead for the intense and soulful yearning at the heart of the show. Pacing around the snow and ice that surrounds his town, he projects an image of a lonely sheriff once again reminded of the potential evil in the world. As an arrival from the capital city Reykjavik, he is only too aware of the criminal mind and how it can impact on a location. But he didn’t expect it to find him in such a far-flung place.
Moral ambiguities, like the wind and the snow, are seemingly everywhere in the show and viewers are never sure which route the narrative is going to go down. Like other hyper stylised intelligent thrillers such as Twin Peaks and The Killing, opening up a series with a dead body is a means to uncovering a whole world of secrets, lies and felonies. But even before the end of the first episode it is the living, and not the dead, that we are concerned with here. This is a great series exploring the relationship between place and person. Even the artfully produces credits sequence shows this off, graphically mirroring Iceland’s snowy peaks and valleys with the human bodies blood flows and organic tapestry. Get lost in the snow and find what lies underneath it all…
Trapped is available on dual DVD and Blu-ray from Arrow Films
Robert W Monk is a freelance journalist and film writer.
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