A Swedish box-office hit, and a far cry from Widerberg's earlier Adalen '31: the lyrical feeling for landscape is replaced by the occasional aerial view of downtown Stockholm, and the visionary socialism by some trite sociologising. Based on a novel by Sjöwall and Wahlöö, it starts tough with a police inspector disembowelled in his hospital bed. But it swiftly undercuts its own suspense, with lengthy sections illustrating the equal tedium of police routine and cops' domestic lives. The idea of corruption on the force is evidently a shocking novelty in Sweden: the film is so busy explaining what turns a loyal civil servant into a psychopathic sniper that it's left without a villain. Keeping the killer's face off-camera causes more irritation than suspense. The few tense moments - like the helicopter lurching into a busy street - just aren't enough to make a thriller.