Comparisons have been drawn between this generally taut Danish thriller and ‘Taxi Driver’. They’re not easy to account for, except that ‘Sons of Denmark’ has the kind of blood-red-lit rooms seen in Scorsese’s 1976 classic and there’s a bit in which one character has a moody conversation in his vest.
Undercover cop Ali (Zaki Youssef) infiltrates a terrorist cell, preventing the assassination of piggy-eyed far-right shit Martin Nordahl (Rasmus Bjerg). As Nordahl heads towards whatever the Danish equivalent of Number 10 is, amid escalating racist violence, Ali starts to question his allegiances.
So far, so boxset. At its best, ‘Sons of Denmark’ is a pretty solid police procedural. It’s pacy, and beautifully lit and shot. All the performances are spot on, especially Bjerg’s horribly believable ‘nationalist’ and Imad Abul-Foul as Hassan, a Muslim elder who switches from avuncular to murderous.
But there are issues. For starters, it’s set in 2025, for absolutely zero reason. I can only assume Danes think that a far-right, Islamophobic government in a First-World country is still a good half-decade away, which is touching, but mad. More importantly, it doesn’t manage to address extremism: either fundamentalism or nationalism. The right-wing thugs are literally anonymous, while it’s not very hard to understand why young Muslim immigrants might entertain thoughts of violence upon returning home to find their house daubed in blood and a pig’s head in the garden.
Still, writer-director Ulaa Salim’s debut is good-looking and self-assured. It feels like a film of two conflicting parts, but at least one of them could quite easily be great.