The Element of Crime

Film, Drama
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
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Von Trier's first feature, and it shows: all the stops are pulled out in this operatic horror-thriller, filmed in English and set in the blitzed-out, rain-lashed hinterlands of Northern Europe, steeped in a sulphurous yellow light. Bogart meets Borges as battered detective Elphick agonises over the mad mathematical computations behind the diabolical 'lotto murders' under the baleful gaze of his mentor (mesmerisingly played by Knight), whose method involves entering the criminal mind. A cinephile's film, stuffed with influences and allusions which, together with the precocious brilliance of every single image, can become numbing at times rather than stunning; but the absolute assurance and ingenuity make this a debut as startling as Eraserhead and every bit as spectacular.

By: SJo

Release details

Duration: 104 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Lars von Trier
Screenwriter: Niels Vorsel
Cast: Michael Elphick
Ahmed El Shenawi
Esmond Knight
Me Me Lai
Astrid Henning-Jensen
Jerold Wells

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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1 person listening

Interesting photography and settings. Weird development. Worth seeing.