By Thorarinn Thorarinsson
City State; A hardboiled crime thriller.
Let’s get straight to the point. Olaf De Fleur’s CityState is an incredibly cool hardboiled crime thriller which raises the bar for the Icelandic crime thriller genre. The actors were fantastic, the cinematography was slick, and the film has an intoxicatingly cool style and feel about it.
It doesn’t hurt that the film realistically depicts Iceland’s underworld, with of course minor embellishes to build suspense. Even though the violence in the film is very rough, it’s very tastefully handled and shouldn’t drive anyone away. The fights scenes are beautifully choreographed by Mjölnir MMA fight-club.
Olaf De Fleur is a gentle soul, as witnessed in his previous films and would never offer up an empty plate of action and violence. You could say that film is split up in three parts; Sergej a Serbian immigrant, Andrea a young policewoman and Gunnar a crime boss. None of these characters are model citizens but still you can’t help connecting with them and the people in their lives.
The worlds of these three characters collide violently, when Sergej’s wife miscarries after an attack from Gunnar’s thugs. Sergej proceeds to gather a group of tough fellow Serbians, comes full force, after his new enemy Gunnar. Andrea and her police cohorts then land smack in the middle of Gunnar’s and Sergej’s personal war.
It’s certainly not easy to create a story with as many characters as City State and manage to weave them expertly together like Olaf does in the film. He’s not re-inventing the wheel, and uses a story telling device from Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, which was clearly the best solution to a complex story.
There’s not enough room here to praise every single actor in an amazing cast. Ingvar E. Sigurdsson rarely fails to deliver and certainly didn’t this time around. Ágústa Eva was wonderful in her portrayal of Andrea, an innocent flower turned into an avenging angel. Sigurður Sigurjónsson’s fantastic performance as a corrupt policelieutenant is in a league of its own. With all that said, the star of the film is without a doubt Zlatko Krickic which blew the audience away with his portrayal of Sergej. There are barely words to describe the brilliant balance of tenderness and toughness in his performance. An amazing actor! And an absolutely amazing film!