Part of my love of Nordic Noir is the dark style and tone of a lot of the shows. Modus is my latest for review, and is a beautifully dark tale pitting killer against psychologist. Almost pitch black in its style, the fact it reminded me of Hannibal in many ways is a very good sign…
When Inger Johanne Vik’s (Melinda Kinnaman) daughter is saved from the path of a speeding truck by a seemingly passing stranger (Marek Oravec) little does she know that it would be this man who pulls her back into profiling. Working with Ingvar Nyman (Henrik Norlén) on a murder case, Vik has no idea that the encounter with the stranger has also put her daughter in danger.
In Modus we are introduced to the killer straight away, though we know little about him. The most enticing of relationships though is of him and the daughter. With troubles that lead her to internalise her feelings and not communicate what she wants to, her witnessing a murder sets her up as a target to this apparent serial killer.
The more we learn about the case, the more interesting Modus becomes. What also catches the audience’s eye though is just how beautifully shot the show is. In plot terms, at the beginning at least there is not a scene wasted. Everything has a flow and connection that focuses the viewer on the story to come. We are given hints as to why the murders are taking place, but for the most part it is up to Inger and Ingvar to discover the facts and to reveal them to us.
I won’t go into too much detail as to what is revealed, as this would of course be spoilers, but it feels very current, especially in the climate where we have the “alt-right” becoming a stronger section of society. This is something that gives Modus its power, and makes the show very effective.
What Modus also does, which is important, is to show the prejudice that is at work with the murders. The people who are killed are homosexual, both men and women, and the important thing is that their sexuality should not matter. These people are human beings, and it is the killer’s prejudice that is wrong here, and fatally wrong. Modus manages to highlight the hate, not only from the killer but also other people (including the police) and show it in the negative way it should be shown. Often touching in the way it handles this, it is an eyeopener to how simple and devastating hate can often be.
One thing that we come to expect with Nordic Noir is acting at its best. This is what we are provided with in the likes of Melinda Kinnaman, Henik Norlén, and Marek Oravec. In fact all the cast never put a foot wrong in Modus. The real sparks fly though between Kinnaman and Marek Oravec. Though they meet fleetingly at first, and spend most of the series not meeting again, the chemistry between them is tantalising. Setting up the final battle between the two perfectly.
Modus is yet another Nordic Noir show that shows just how good European dramas can be. A topical, and on-point story-line coupled with actors on top form, makes this a show you won’t want to miss. Beautifully shot, Modus is a show that will keep you wanting more.
Modus: Complete Season One is available on DVD and Blu-ray now.