söndag 23 oktober 2016


Previously on Johan Falk:

Johan has been snared into working for the Russians. He  now has a handler. A  woman which we as of yet has no knowledge of.  From our point of view he has been snared. But from the Russians point of view they have recruited someone to work for them. The grey murky areas continue to make cracks on the ground we walk on.

Meanwhile, there might be a power struggle brewing inside Seth Rydells gang, and the connections between GSI and  Seth Rydell  are slowly getting tighter at the same time there are huge tensions.

Oh yeah, GSI might have been compromised and there might be a cop inside GSI  helping the Russians.


The plot this time takes a bit of a temporary wide turn to tell a story of international political intrigue inside a Middle Eastern country and how it spills over to Swedish soil, involving , for Falkologists, a very familiar face, Pernilla  (Alexandra Rapaport) from Executive Protection, now owner of her own private security firm and privately inside a real shitstorm. In the opening of the film we see she´s been hired to protect the family to a higher ups in an no named Middel Eastern country. But shit hits the fan and her security detail gets ambushed and kidnapped.Pernilla is forced to help the terrorists for reasons unknown at first, but it involves a badass diplomat working on Swedish soil, civil war and some trickery involving money transactions and coimputers. (According to the shooting script one of the security guards is Ralf from Executive Protection, which I did not realize it at first.)

We also get introduced to the owner of an MMA club wanting to buy guns from Seth who has connections with  Czechen  mafia. this subplot will  be more elaborated on in next film. Another chesspiece has entered the board.

Patrik has stepped down as leader for GSI due to his cancer, but he remains as a mentor to Sophie. Also GSI need to find who has leaked. There is an infiltrator within the police. 

Meanwhile , Jack is struggling to cope with  his two failed assassination attempts on his brother-in-arms Seth Rydell. The Pakistanis are pretty pissed about that.  Jack is also  suspecting Seth working for the cops.

Jibber jabber:

The plot is pretty convoluted this time around, perhaps too much so to really care about and invest in. The surface plot with the middle eastern politics seem at surface bland and uninteresting. But thematically one might find one or two things worth mentioning.

Just as Johan, Pernilla is put in a morally grey position as she is forced to help terrorists in a civil war struggle, a conflict that for us as outsiders we have little grasp on.  She seems to also have a handler; one of the terrorists actually says "she is my responsibility". The villains might believe they are doing what is best for their own country. Who are we to judge? We are put in a position to root against them as they threaten Swedes; Pernilla as they hold her personnel hostage against her. But put in a different narrative light, their actions might be understood. Thinking this way it gives the  series another furnish of complexity, that the world is not as easily defined in terms of good and bad.

I think this is the one that is hardest to grasp as far as the narrative goes. Weapon deals, diamond heists, foreign politics and fragile alliances of all sorts. A lot is going on. It becomes more of a espionage thriller, than a straight forward thriller like the last one. Who is who and who does what to who?

In one of the scenes the diplomat  survives an attempt by being a complete badass, overcomes, stabs and kick the living shit out of two assassins even when shot at close range:

A bit of awkwardness occurs as Johan and Pernilla meet for the first time in  like thirteen years.

The scene is fairly straightforwardly shot, shot-reverse shot , with some close ups to the faces to try to see what  reactions can be revealed.. Signaling that these people are professionals that despite meeting each other for the firts time in years, they keep their guard up. It is a poker game.

They´ve never socialized outside their professions before. A line is at the end of the scene exchanged in which they might have lunch someday. I don´t  think so.

Underneath the courtesy lies some suspicion as one line form the script more explicitly states when Pernilla asks "Are you spying on me?. That line seems to have been deleted and instead relied on insinuation. Good.

Later there is a similar confrontation, but with more emotional underpinnings when Jack and Seth reveals to each other their true intentions. 

Similar setup, but with a higher degree of suspicion, underlying threats and explicit earnesty. They have no secrets  anymore. The hostility is in the open it seems.  These are two people with a history, they´ve built tight bonds and go way back, which makes the scene  more involving. You know these people cared for each other. It went beyond  being professionals, they were "brothers". I care more about these criminals than Pernilla and Johans relatonship.


To be honest, I prefer the last movie´s more straight forward approach, but I can appreciate the ballsyness of crafting a more diffused narrative to complement the underlying themes of the difficulty in where to draw a line morally. It is murky, grey and hard to make something of, The espionage elements makes it way more vague and ambivalent, like we have fallen into a dark abyss in which there is no moral, no bottom to plant your feet and grasp your world.   Seth is selling arms to terrorists at the same time he helps the police. It is an ongoing morally ambiguous tale, which this series excel at, but I would have liked to have been more invested in the plot.

I never could figure out entirely what was going on in the politics so as a surface thriller it kind of disappears into blandness. It is what is going on between the characters in the subplots that keeps this one afloat and the overall themes that lies like a blanket over everything that happens.

All this confusion made me think. I don´t know, any more, you guys. Are the Russians any worse than the supposedly good guys on our parts anymore. Should we actually embrace this fear of Russians or is there another way to look at these apparently  unfathomable bunch of people? Are they so strange and weird? Or am I strange and weird for thinking that?

Next time on Johan Falk:

Undercover work within the MMA club and the Czechen mafias stronhold.

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