Follow The Money (TV Series) (2016)

  
Alexander Sødergren (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) is a ruthless business man who works for a Danish company called Energreen. He has plans to corner the energy market, and believes wind farms are the future. When a dead body is pulled from the sea in which a wind farm is situated, a detective called Mads Justesen (Thomas Bo Larsen) believes that the shady Energreen had something to do with it. 

  
One thing I’ve noticed about these Scandinavian crime dramas is that it nearly always starts with dead body being pulled from the water. Maybe they should take up swimming perhaps? 

Also playing into proceedings is a young mechanic and ex convict called Nicky (Esben Smed Jensen), who finds himself tangled up with Energreen when he tries to resort to blackmail. There’s also a young lawyer called Claudia (Natalie Madueño) who receives a promotion which helps her in her investigation into the dodgy goings on inside Energreen. 

  
The plot moves along very slowly, and is nowhere near as gripping as previous Scandinavian dramas like The Killing or Trapped. This is more the political side of things like Borgen, which is no surprise really as it was created by the same guy. The dialogue is very wooden in places, though one would guess that maybe something has been lost in translation. Nikolaj Lie Kaas is very good as the ruthless Alexander or ‘Sander’ as he’s also called. He is very convincing in his role and thankfully the poor script doesn’t seem to hamper his acting quality whatsoever. 

Thomas Bo Larsen is also good as the dogged detective Mads Justesen, who’s home life also weighs him down as his wife suffers with multiple sclerosis. I felt that the aspect of his wife suffering with such a debilitating disease was kind of shoehorned in, just to make us feel more sympathetic towards him. I felt it was unnecessary as his character was already adequately defined for us to relate to as an audience. 

  
The camerawork is great in my opinion however, as it moves around the office like a shark, perfectly capturing the claustrophobic atmosphere of an office where so much is going on. 

Scandinavian dramas have always been worth watching, and ‘Follow the Money’ is no different. However I would love to see a series which delves even more into the dark hearts of man, maybe something involving the occult. 

FOLLOW THE MONEY is released on DVD & Blu-Ray Monday 25th April by Nordic Noir & Beyond and is available for pre order now. 

3/5

JM

  

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Trapped (TV Series) (2015)

  
Synopsis from the Arrow Films website:

“As a ferry carrying 300 passengers from Denmark pulls into an Icelandic town s small port, heavy snow begins to fall. The ferry can t leave until the storm passes and the main road into town is impassable. A mutilated and dismembered body washes on the shore, an unidentifiable man murdered only hours ago. The local police chief, Andri Ólafssun, whose personal life is in shatters, realises a killer has descended into his town. As word spreads, order disintegrates into chaos as the ferry’s passengers and the town’s residents realise they are all possible suspects and that a killer is trapped among them.”

That does a much better job of describing this stunning series than I ever could. When we meet Chief Ólafssun he is already someone you can wholly sympathise and identify with. He’s an everyday sort of person who finds himself up against a cunning killer when he is already himself at breaking point. With his trusty colleagues, they begin to piece together the events that lead to the grisly murder, but there are lots of surprises and red herrings along the way. Each episode leaves you wanting more, and you may find that you binge through episodes before deciding to take a break, it’s that good. 

 
Ólafur Darri Ólafassun who plays the put upon Chief Ólafassun really makes you warm to him. Eagle eyed viewers may remember him from ‘A Walk Among The Tombstones’ of which he had a brief but memorable role. Scandinavia has really been on a solid run with the thrilling dramas it has been releasing of late. The Killing, Borgen, The Bridge and Those Who Kill all show why audiences are so drawn to the sterling drama on offer. Each series that has come out of Scandinavia has hooked people because of the great writing, fully rounded characters and thrills that are on offer. 

 
The supporting cast all deliver and help in fleshing out a gripping piece of television. The scenery is breathtaking too, with the mountains and the unrelenting snow really making you feel glad to be warm indoors. I love watching TV series such as ‘Trapped’ which keep you gripped and don’t give too much away in each episode.

 
I’m really looking forward to seeing what is in store for a second series of ‘Trapped’ should they decide to make one. TRAPPED is released on Monday 11th April by Nordic Noir & Beyond, and is available to pre order now from the following link:

http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk/shop/index.php?route=product/product&keyword=trappe&product_id=710%22

It really is a top series and one I highly recommend. 

5/5

JM

  

Interview with Made Flesh author/artist pair Lars Kramhoft and Tom Kristensen. 




The american horror publisher Evil Jester just launched the Indie-go-go campaign (link here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/made-flesh) for their upcoming graphic novel “MADE FLESH”, an ambitious, 124-page horror story all in color. The creators of the book are a writer/artist team from Denmark of all places. 

I/WE (?) Horror caught up with the two up-and-coming talents for a quick chat about “Made Flesh” and to figure out why an American publisher believes  these guys will be succesful “over there”:

 

JM: Lars and Tom, can you introduce yourself to our readers?

 

L: Sure. I’m Lars and I’m the writer of “Made Flesh”.I’d like to say thanks for talking to us. This whole crazy journey we’re on is all about the art we make, the fans and friends we meet. It’s so great to feel that people support what you’re doing and now that we have the indie-go-go campaign up and running it really means everything.

 

T: My name is Tom Kristensen. I’m a 32 years old freelance illustrator living in Copenhagen with my lovely girlfriend. I generally work with visual storytelling and try to incorporate the comic book medium in everthing I work on.  

 

JM: Can you tell us a bit about what readers can expect from “Made Flesh”?

 

L: Well, on the surface level it’s a haunted house story about a guy named Michael whose father dies, so he has to travel back to his childhood home with his girlfriend to settle the estate. Already from the beginning Michael is having some problems, he has nightmares and hallucinates. We sense that there is something dark in his past and it is actually threatening his relationship. Of course the past comes back to haunt him – both metaphorically and quite literally, and he has to dig it all up to save himself and his girlfriend. I don’t want to give much more away, but people who are interested should follow the group on Facebook as well as the indiegogo campaign cause we will be posting new material and little bits of extras all through the next thirty days.

Both Tom and I are very ambitious about our art, be it writing or drawing, and when we made “Made Flesh” we comitted to create something genuine and genuinely scary. To be honest, I didn’t know if anyone was going to want to read it, so at some point I just said – fuck it, let’s go all the way. No compromises. Let’s give them hell. So we did – and it paid off. This book is our vision – surreal, visceral, psychological, litterary and artistic, creepy and disgusting. 

 

 T: In regards of the visual experience I wanted Made Flesh to have a strong visual side that would fit the psychological aspects of the story. Things aren’t so clean shaven in the tale so I took the drawings down the rabbit’s hole as well. I decided to approach the artwork with a more of a illustrative feel instead of trying to have everything perfectly inked. The pencils give a lot of nice textures that help setting the mood for this spooky tale

 

JM: Obviously, you are both hugely into horror entertainment, but what can a graphic novel offer in terms of horror that is different from a novel or a film and how did you make “Made Flesh” scary?

 

TI think comics and graphic novels have a huge potential when it comes to tell deep compelling stories. The way graphic novels demands cooperation from the reader. You need to be willing to merge yourself with the artwork and text in order for you to get the full experience. A lot of the story happens in-between panels and the reader needs to make it happen in his og her mind. That is one of the great things about the medium. A picture can hit a lot faster than a page full of words and that’s one of the things that make graphic novels suited for horror. You decide what the reader will see and what she’ll imagine. That’s pretty powerful, if you ask me. You can’t really create shock effects in a physical book unless it’s some sort of crazy popup book (I’d buy it!). So you need to take it in another direction. A much more interesting direction I might add. You need to create real emotions in your characters. They need to feel real in order for the scary things that might happen to them feel real to the reader. You want to work a lot with ambiance and atmosphere.

 

JM: For a lot of writers and artists in comics it can be quite a challenge to find the right people to collaborate with. How did your working together come about? Did you meet a convention, online or somewhere else entirely?

 

T: I wanted to create a graphic novel for my master’s degree at the design school. and I had met Lars at the Animation Workshop’s artists in residency Open Workshop earlier that year. I knew he wanted to write and I needed a story to work with so I asked him if he wanted to write it. Luckily he said yes. After I graduated we decided to finish the book. We’re both very committed to making art and stories so it felt only natural to collaborate.    

 

JM: Like many other up and coming comic book writers and artists, you went the self-publishing way before being picked up by a publisher. How did you go about that? Is it something you will recommend to others?

 

L: We definetely went the DIY-way and to be honest, we worked our asses off. I have always related what we do to punk bands who do everything themselves and sleep on their friends couches when they go touring. I basically spent all my money on self-publishing Made Flesh, and had to go on the dole for a month afterwards. Tom and I would ride our bikes around Copenhagen to get stores to sell our book, and we stood behind our own table at conventions in Denmark, Germany and the UK selling the book. There really is no easy way to do something like this. It’s hard work, but it’s also extremely rewarding because you’re doing what matters to you, and you live life as if it actually mattered  you’re not cheesing itI recommend doing it this way, because the best way to learn something is by actually fucking doing it. You know, Tom and I both have  creative educations, but I still say I my real education was all that time I spent making underground comics, writing and drawing for myself. It teaches you the craft, self-discipline and dedication.  

 




JM: Obviously, getting published is a big deal for all writers and artists. How did you get picked up by Evil Jester?

 

L: Yeah, it’s like, all that hard work and dedication I talked about has paid off, you know? Because first we got published in Denmark. Then we won the award for best Danish horror publication in 2013. Now we’re ready to bring our vision of horror and madness to an even bigger audience. I had already been writing a bit with the editor Charles Day about doing something for them because I knew they were doing awesome stuff, and when we eventually submitted the book to them they pretty much accepted it right away.  

 

Q: So you made the book – and now you want to do it again!? Or what is the deal with the indie-go-go campaign and why should the readers donate their hard-earned money to it?

 

L: The thing is, getting pubslihed in the US doesn’t automatically mean you hang out with Stan Lee and get a big bag of money handed to you. Evil Jester is a small company – they’re a quality publisher, but they’re small. And printing a big, full color comic book is expensive. And that’s not even taking something like marketing into consideration, which is a big part of it too. Obviously we’re not putting this money in our pockets – we’re trying to raise enough that we can publish a really, really, cool version of Made Flesh, hopefully a hardcover. That’s why people should support us if they’re into indie horror and good comics because we put our blood, sweat and tears into this. It’s not some Sunday school trip – we really love horror and we really, really worked hard to create something special here.We also want to make even more books, so if you guys help us here now, we promise you we’re going to deliver on the goods. 


JM: Before starting Made Flesh, was there anything that really inspired you and helped in the creative process?


L: Well, for my part, I had just graduated from animation school and had gotten my bachelor, but I knew I wasn’t going to work with animation. I started to do comics again, but then I just gravitated towards writing more and more. That’s like the context, but to answer your question I would say that someone like Grant Morrison inspired me a lot, because he really opened my eyes to how much you can do with comics. For me, he made comics sexy and rellevant. It was like, when I was reading his books, I would think – yeah, this is the kind of thing I want to do. Like Arkham Asylum which was a huge influence on MF.


T: Yes, I’d done a 112 page danish comic called Deadboy so I knew that I could actually finish a longer story. A lot of the time in the creative process you really just need to believe you can do it. During the time of drawing Made Flesh I went to the library a lot to read comics. I take a lot of inspiration from looking at other comics and say to myself: It they can so can I.





JM: Preacher would also be something that has great writing and isn’t afraid to be daring.


L: Totally! I have like four books that are the hallmark as far as I am concerned, Sandman, Preaher, Hellblazer and The Invisibles. For me, those four books, that time at Vertigo, was the best in horror comics.


JM: That’s what I liked about Made Flesh. It was very daring but treats the reader with respect. I love mature stories like that.


L: Yeah absolutely, I try to make something that I would like to read. I’m really satisfied with all the layers in the story, and how it doesn’t get spelled out, but you get the feeling of a world and a cosmology with spirits and demons even though you are never told exactly how it all works. 


JM: Guys thanks so much for your time. Good luck with the book and the campaign. 


JM