fredag 7 oktober 2016


Previously on Johan Falk:

A lot of shit went down. The credibility of the police force for one. Frank Wagners cover was blown and he was let down by the government who had used him for their own benefit without fulfilling their promise. Johan stepped up and made sure Frank could get away, redeeming himself somewhat by executing the Russian mobster who´d  targeted Frank.

But how the hell did the Russian Mob (Tm?) get access the secret identities of every GSI member? The plot thickens...


The movie opens almost like Code name: Lisa but instead of someone lurking outside Frank Wagners apartment  someone is  clutching the handle to Johan Falks door. Johan approaches the door, with a pistol in his hands, trembling and  seemingly suffering from PTSD  from shooting Dudajev in the goddamn head so Frank could get away and have a clean start.  This is the first time we have seen Johan this distraught. Because of the cold blooded murder of Dudajev he had now taken steps beyond law and order for the very first time in a big way.

We also see how the Russian mafia has located huge old weapon caches inside containers in a lake in Latvia  that once belonged to the Russian government.  We will later see that they may plan to smuggle some of them into Sweden.


The plot starts  immediately after the events of Codename: Lisa.  GSI is trying to figure out how Dudajev  could have gotten hold of the identities of the team. Johan is approached by the Dudajev widow and she is scared of the repurcussions she will face from the Russian mob. What Dudajev was up to wasn´t  sanctioned by the higher-ups ( seems familiar).  He was a loose cannon that brought too much attention it seems.

What Johan wants in return for his help is the intel on where the information on his team came from. In order  to get it he has to  protect her in Riga. But when he is there he manages to get the intel to GSI, but too late realizes the whole thing was a setup, gets bushwhacked and Dudajevs widow being murdered in the process, and ends up in a secluded hotel room, bruised , battered and confused.

He is later being approached in the hotel lobby by a  Russian woman who conveys the layout of the land to Johan. They have planted evidence so Johan will take the fall for the murder of the widow, unless he agrees to work for them. So basically, the woman becomes a handler for Johan. The tables seem to have turned.

Johan reluctantly  agree to play along (momentarily at least) and is given the task of smuggling a truck full of those guns the Russians dug up from a lake into Sweden. During the drive to Sweden Johan must find a way out of this before he reaches his home country. because, who the hell would want more high powered guns? Oh... bad guys. That´s right.

Meanwhile, turmoil are brewing inside  Seth Rydells organization as a former companion , Jack
(Björn Bengtsson) has been realised from prison and wants to reassert his position in the gang. There is later an attempt on Seths life that Jack orchestrated. The conflict has been presented, a lot of history is being conveyed between these two characters and brings even more complexity and nuances to the plot.

"Your fucking Hobbexbomb means for non-Swedish readers Mailorder-bomb"

A lot of chess pieces are being setup in this one. So to speak,  And I am glad to see Falk being the centrepiece of the narrative once again as he  becomes the propulsive force to the main plot. 

This is reminiscent to Zero Tolerance as Johan has himself to blame for falling into an obvious  trap and getting snared, History repeats itself.  But apparently he has to act recklessly inorder to get the story going.

On a surface level this works as a great straight forward action movie, with  an exciting setup. But as one digs deeper, it becomes complex with betrayals within betrayals within different groups and as we learn at the end of the film, GSI is not spared from treachery. Ohhh. SPOILER by the way.

Jakob Eklund as Falk gets more to work with the role here than in a lot of the previous ones. In one touching moment of the film as he drives the truck Falk calls his family, finds out that his stepdaughter is pregnant and his reaction to it. It is a great  moment for the audience, as we know what peril he is in, but they don´t. His family is happy and safe for the moment. The tranquility is about to fall apart within the next films.

For a movie that runs for 100 minutes, it is jampacked with plot points, subplots and lots of stuff that are worthy of scrutiny. But this is the joy of being a Falkologist. There is always something to bring up, discuss and evaluate.

Music and cinematography:

I´ve never before mentioned Bengt Nilssons score, which for me has always been  a high point from Zero Tolerance to this day. Mixing the usual beats and  percusssions of an action score with sombre, melancolic tenderness, Using violins in a non-sappy way is pretty amazing. Nilssons score stands above a lot of contemporaries in my opinion, brings a lot to these films and is a big part of what makes them unique in contemporary  Swedish action- cinema.

I also must mention the look of this series with its vibrant look utilizing more shadows, more greens and blues and  just makes the show feel darker in tone. It  definitely looks more cinematic than the previous two series, which is  a great  evolvement and thematically what is going on.

Jibber jabber:

In my opinion, the best scene, is not even in the released film! A sequence that was dropped presenting to the viewer a  highly atmospheric  piece of film. According to the notes accompanying the deleted scene on the dvd, they shot more than was scripted but it was dropped since it never conveyed  any new information to the viewer.

The sequence in question is one that takes place after Johan finds out he has been snared and entrapped. His response is to walk the streets of Riga, trying to grasp the situation that has befallen him. Isolation and persecution are the keywords here. We follow Johanthrough a few moments of empty desolate places. He is falling  apart it seems, connected to the first scene in his apartment, has a hard time to walk, sits down but can´t keep still as he is haunted, persecuted by people in a strange land.. We see Johan more human and fragile than before. But he has very little time to contemplate his situation as he is stalked through the "Streets of Riga" ( not Philadelphia!).

A real shame it is not there in the released dvd, at least in a branched version. It is presented in the deleted scenes section only. I mean, the need for every element to serve a narrative purpose to drive the story forward is crucial in an actionfilm, but I don´t think it would have hurt the film that much of letting it breathe at this point, letting the audience take in Johan Falks sense of isolation.

I like this shot. And the depth it conveys.

Man, it invokes some memories from watching  The Third Man. At least for me.

These last shots we sense him being tracked in these isolated environments that also gives a tremendous sense of depth. I find this atmospheric sequence quite unusual in action- cinema,  seems more impressionistic than realistic and it is a real shame that it was cut from the film. Oh well.

Instead we end up with a few lines to convey his travels through Riga. It feels a bit jarring from a continuity standpoint and also less cinematic when you have a character simply describing Falks travels rather than showing it. On the other hand, if I never saw the deleted sequence, would it still feel as  abrupt as it does now? A good ask oneself. I will contemplate on this. A good Falkologist needs to be open-minded, so I will not grudge any longer. I am glad the scene exists on dvd for prosperity and for future Falkologists to ponder  and examine.

Just a final thought; I glanced through the pages to the shooting script and reading the scene as it was envisioned. In the script Falk  walks around "determined" and he seems to have a sort of plan , which is not what he is doing in this sequence. In the filmed scene he struggles to cope with the situation and is shown quite vulnerable. they made Falk more human, in the script he comes of as typically macho cocky. I am glad that this scene tries to get away from that.

Otherwise, Into the fire is one of the great entries in the series. It has an interesting ,suspenseful setup with some urgency built into it. But it also works very well by building up all this machinery of subplots underneath it without taking away the surface thriller enjoyment.

Next time on Johan Falk: A reunion from Executive protection.

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