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Saturday, May 3, 2014

DVD Review - International Mystery Series Part 2 - The Spider

By Adam Ruhl

The Spider

This Danish mini-series had just so much for me to love about it. I was expecting that all the series in the ‘International Mystery’ product line might be from more or less the same part of the genre, but this is not the case. The Spider is set in 1949 Copenhagen and its tone is closer to Chinatown than anything else. All the feel of the era and genre of a great Crime Noir story is there.

The Spider follows young journalist Bjarne Madsen (Jakob Cedergren) as he investigates the post-WW2 black market in Denmark. Right away the setting is something I've never seen portrayed before on screen. 1949 Denmark is country still putting itself back together, dealing with rationing, trying to rid itself of former Nazi collaborators, and emerge from black marketing and corruption of the war years. Bjarne is the thorn in the side of the official crime reporter, H.C. Vissing (Lars Mikkelsen), a crusty veteran newsman who thinks Bjarne is biting off more than he can chew. The mystery gets going when a pair of bodies are pulled from the ocean with no faces and the two reporters begin to suspect how far the corruption might go.

This story is immediately captivating, with lots of great suspense and style. If you’re a fan of the old fashioned crime thriller, this is a can’t miss. It’s got beautiful women, murder, gangsters, jazz, fight scenes, and sometimes all five at once. There’s also some fascinating political commentary that American audiences might not be acquainted with. Danish Families with communist, former-Nazi, and social democrat members makes for a very interesting dinner table. On the whole, I highly recommend The Spider.

The series ran in Denmark in 2000 and is just now getting here but it looks great, even for a DVD only release. It runs six 1- Hour episodes, and they are almost a full hour each. Perfect for a Saturday marathon. 

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