Nordic noir that’s impossibly haunting, terribly intense and set in a place that teaches us what it means to be at odds against nature. Nature, here has the greatest role, both when the natural blizzard happens and then when the man made avalance occurs. Nothing can move without the will of Mother Nature as we see mounds of snow and incessant rainy hail storms, prove an impediment to daily life in this little hamlet.
Trapped, currently showing on Netflix has just entered its second series. The first season that I just wrapped up, is absolutely mind-blowing. It is supposedly the most expensive TV drama ever helmed by Icelandic studios. And if you see this show and the landscape where shooting was probably a nightmare and yet with gloriously stunning icy, snowy, breath-taking beauty; you would say, it was worth all that trouble.
The plot begins thus: dismembered remains of a human body are found by fishermen and at the same time, a storm cuts off this small Icelandic village from the rest of the world. Everything seems hopeless. The residents and passengers from a ship that has just moored are stuck here for forever, it seems. Roads are closed because of the blizzard and all flights have been grounded. The police team from Reykjavik cannot come so the burden of solving this gruesome murder falls on the portly local police chief.
Stunning, expansive locales in Iceland; a whodunit that doesn’t seem to get solved, until the very end. Brilliant actors who seem tailor-made for their roles in this crime drama that has the huge, hairy, bearded actor, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as the police chief Andri, as the lead. He’s the Big Bear heart-throb in Iceland, already:) You’re not getting to see any finely chiselled bodies, beautiful faces or sexy fashionistas here. This is a show that punches you in the gut, with its real people and stark realism.
In a deviation from the normal roles, Andri lives with his in-laws raising his two girls and getting on with his slow moving police job until this murder happens. His wife returns from the big city a few months later after she left him with her new squeeze in tow. Relationships are complicated and there are no typical roles here; it’s all as we see in real life.
Even Andri’s fellow police officer, Hinrika is rendered interesting by her role as the strong woman who battles it out on her own, with a weak husband at home who grows his own drugs and is a wastrel mostly. We get to see her mettle in most of the scenes as she is unflappable and absolutely dedicated to her job, even when she gives refuge to the two African girls who are brought to be slaves, by an agent aboard the grounded ferry.
Then there’s a young man Hjortur, tormented by memories of his first love, Dagny, being burnt down in a fire. Who started that fire all those years ago? How is it linked with the recent murder that is revealed to us?
And the story keeps getting more mysterious and murkier with every episode. Winner of multiple Edda Awards from the Icelandic Film and Television Academy, including Best TV Drama Series, the director and creator Baltasar Kormákur has called the show “a mix of Nordic noir and Agatha Christie.”
The perfect description, really.