When the first five minutes of a TV show include the sight of a young woman hanged in the middle of a darkened theatre, you know that watching it at night was a bitter mistake. Icelandic drama Case on Channel 4 is the psychological-thriller murder mystery about a young ballerina who is thought to have committed suicide at the National Theatre in Reykjavik.
But there is of course more to the story, and the series begins with various detectives (slightly aggressively) interviewing those who were close to the ballerina, Lara.
From the very beginning, there are a lot of haunting and disturbing scenes and, although effective in their efforts to shock the viewer, I personally felt too nauseous to watch some parts. One moment was especially gut-wrenching: during the scene where Lara’s corpse is examined, a voiceover of her father leaving a voicemail asking why she isn’t home yet is played.
The acting is extremely strong – particularly Þorsteinn Bachmann’s performance in the role of Högni, the ballerina’s foster father. The skilled actors make you forget that you are even reading the subtitles – unless you are an Icelandic speaker.
Another strong aspect of the show is the way in which it is filmed. The camera stays close, often following the detectives and other characters in a way that makes the viewers feel as though they are there too. This gives it a documentary-style feel and makes the show seem more realistic.
However, a favourite part of the show for me was the complete lack of background music at many dramatic moments of suspense throughout the show. With nothing but dead silence in these scenes, the intensity and emotion was increased exponentially.
Overall, if you can handle scenes that can at times be quite horrifying and disturbing then this could be a great watch for you. And although I am curious to find out what happened to that poor ballerina, I personally would not recommend to a friend.
Image: Ophelia Photos @ Flickr