Monday, October 22, 2012

Cellofan - med døden til følge (1998)



Cellofan is a curious little thriller with a sad destiny, it more or less got lost and has rarely been since since 1998. Made as a co-production between Norway and Sweden and was, I guess after the traditional cinema release, sold to a distributor for a lot of money. That distributor then more or less ignored the film and it's hardly distributed since then - except in Hong Kong, where a now very rare DVD was released and that's about it. Well, I'm one of those that bought the DVD from DDDhouse (it's marked as OOP there now) and today I decided to watch it again after a couple of years. Because there was something peculiar about it, and it wasn't until now I realized what it was. Just take a look at this:

A journalist goes to a small town to investigate a mysterious disappearance that happened a long time ago. The disappearance of a young woman. The reason why this is brought up to the daylight again - much to the annoyance of the people in the small town, who just wants to forget - is that an old, respected man, reveals that someone has sent him a letter, once every month for 20 years, reminding him of the disappearance/murder. Soon the journalist is in danger and people is dying around her...

Yeah, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but in 1998 and in Norway. Now I know why I didn't think the set-up felt so fresh in the Swedish thriller mentioned above, there was something bothering me - something I've seen before. Okay, I'm being a bit manipulating here. That's just the main set-up, what we have here is a female journalist who on her fathers deathbed hears about the letters. She goes to Skogmark, the little town, pretending to write an article about the Christian home for drug abusers, but instead - in secret - starts to investigate in the murder, trying to save her fathers ass - he's the one accused for the murder in all the letters - and at the same time write a good story. So there's no data hacker  Goth chick, no prison awaiting the journalist, no bizarre twist ending - just a good old murder mystery and it's not that bad actually.

Sure, the script could have used a couple of rewrites to remove the worst plot holes, but the atmosphere (also very similar to Dragon Tattoo) is nice and there's some very good acting, especially from the always reliable Sverre Anker Ousdal (father to the equally brilliant Mads Ousdal, more famous as the lead in Norwegian Ninja). There's also an interesting attempt to referencing Psycho at one or two occasions, but that part of the story (and a few others...) is just left without much explanation. What's fun is that the killer, who suffocates his victims with a piece of cellophane, also wear black gloves and a black coat (and probably a black hat if they choose to filmed the head), which feels a lot like something directly out of a Giallo. There's more similar things reminding me of that, including the character who wants to tell something VERY important, but not now - later, when its dark and the killer have time to get rid of him before our heroine gets there in time.

Maybe it was slightly before its time. Maybe, if it was made now and with the same love and obsession for Scandinavians thrillers and mysteries, it could have been something bigger and better. It's not bad now, but this is a great movie to remake, to polish a bit, to make a bit more spectacular, throw in some more red herrings, maybe a little bit of gore, and it would be a hit. I'm pretty sure I'm correct. 

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Cellofan is a curious little thriller with a sad destiny, it more or less got lost and has rarely been since since 1998."

Never even heard about it...see, this one of many reasons you need to keep blogging....what hell else am I going to watch....mainstream cinema?


"Yeah, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but in 1998 and in Norway. Now I know why I didn't think the set-up felt so fresh in the Swedish thriller mentioned above, there was something bothering me - something I've seen before."

Well....for me...I never understood the hype.....I haven´t read books.....but I prefer the remake by Fincher.

But is hard to fail, 90 mil, great DP, famous actors etc.


The content however feels like a giallo, grindhouse whatever.....I think that´s why you and other filmnnerds like me may be so unimpressed.


"Maybe it was slightly before its time. Maybe, if it was made now and with the same love and obsession for Scandinavians thrillers and mysteries, it could have been something bigger and better."

Yeah.....and a different distributor.

Great review ninja, and thanks.

Are you planning a halloween special soon?

With just genre cinema from Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden?

Megatron

Ninja Dixon said...

I'm not that impressed by Dragon. It's just another Swedish crime thriller.

We'll about Halloween... :)

Anonymous said...

Ninja: Yeah...you and I agree totally.

I would love some halloween special.....


Megatron