Black's Game


Crime / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 65%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 65% · 100 ratings
IMDb Rating 6.7/10 10 4364 4.4K
970.9 MB
Icelandic 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 45 min
Seeds 7

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by JvH48 8 / 10

Perfectly casted and acted crime thriller about a young criminal getting from bad to ugly

I saw this film as part of the Rotterdam Film Festival 2012. Main features are the high quality acting and script. The story has an unmistakable drive, keeping your attention for the whole duration. What we see unroll is a typical growth path for a young criminal. He starts with something relatively innocent, moves on to something less benign, and just has to continue from then on while becoming more and more unable to leave the "circle".

As a bonus we get a nice hint from the mentor-in-crime of our main character. When something unexpected happens, do the first thing that comes to mind, however strange it may be, and do it without any hesitation. He indeed acts on that rule a few times with success, especially in the final scene. How that last scene ends exactly, is deliberately left open by the film makers. I don't consider that to be a real problem, this being the only logical wrap-up for the story.

The final Q&A revealed that the footage was shot last May, but that the editing only finished the Monday before the festival screening. Having a fixed deadline in the form of this festival, was definitely needed to arrive at the finished product we saw.

Reviewed by morrison-dylan-fan 9 / 10

"Pain is satisfaction."

Taking a look at a fellow IMDbers reviews,I was thrilled to stumble upon a Nordic Noir film that I have never heard of before,with one of the executive producers being auteur film maker Nicolas Winding Refn.With having been in the mood to watch a new movie from the Nordic Noir genre,I felt that it was the perfect time to join in the game.

View on the film:

Filmed after all the major banks in the country had gone bust,writer/director Óskar Thór Axelsson & cinematographer Bergsteinn Björgúlfsson open ever wound of Iceland to splatter a brittle Nordic Noir atmosphere across the screen,by making every building in the title look covered in charcoal,and the deep snow opening up the cold hearted brutality of the underworld characters.Digging into the minds of Stebbi & Tóti, Axelsson superbly dazzles ultra-stylised, over-lapping images across the screen,which pull the viewer into Stebbi and Tóti peak moments of heightened hedonism.

Shooting Stefán Máni's true crime book on to the screen,the screenplay by Axelsson leaves any hint of a "journey/learning the error of their ways" at the blood-soaked door,thanks to Axelsson making the Nordic underworld run on Film Noir loners whose sole reasons for living are cold,hard drugs,cash & blood.Running at a trim 104 minutes, Axelsson slowly sinks Stebbi deeper and deeper into Tóti's merciless black tar,as Steebi's "favour" is revealed to be small fry,as he joins Toti in smashing up the old board of a ruthless game.

Reviewed by Red-Barracuda 7 / 10

A crime-thriller with an Icelandic flavour

After spending a night in the cells for a violent encounter, a young guy called Stebbi (Thor Kristjansson) bumps into an old school friend Tóti (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson). The latter is now a gangster and he invites Stebbi into his world. Things become more complicated, however, when they join forces with a psychotic gangster called Bruno (Damon Younger). They take over the territory of the old-guard and set up a complex drug trafficking system but things begin to spiral out of control.

Pusher and Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn is the executive producer here. Black's Game is a film that does show his influence. It's a stylish crime-thriller with a prominent electronica soundtrack. It's based on a best-selling novel and it includes re-enactments of some real events. Set in the last days of the 20th century, its historical setting is intended to reflect the growth of the Icelandic crime underworld at the turn of the millennium. In many ways it's a fairly routine crime film, what really makes it distinctive is its Icelandic flavour. The dramatic landscape and the cultural details set this gangster flick apart from others. Otherwise it uses lots of stylistic touches now familiar to the genre like split-screen, slow motion and jump-cuts, although these are always quite welcome and they are well done here. As you might also expect for the genre, it is violent and disturbing at times too. But it also has space for a little sensuality as well, with the gorgeous María Birta, who plays coke-head Dagný, a very welcome presence indeed.

Black's Game may not exactly break the mould but it's a very good crime-thriller nevertheless. If you enjoy the new wave of north European crime films, such as the recent Headhunters, then this one should offer you something too. It wraps the genre up in the unique ambiance that northern European films do.

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