Review by Dan Skip Allen
It's been three years since the premiere of Murderous Trance at the Warsaw Film Festival in 2018. Ever since then this film has sat on a shelf. After watching it, it makes sense because this film is a nonsensical mess. It's almost incoherent to understand at all. A film that is trying to be good is rarely so bad. Originally titled Guardian Angel, this film needs a savior of its own.
The basic story of the film is about a man who robs a couple of banks in the 1950s in Denmark. A local hypnotist, Bjorn Schouw Neilsen (Josh Lucas, Glory Road), is linked with the robberies and murders that followed. A local lawman, Anders Olsen (Pilou Asbæk, Game of Thrones), is tasked with investigating these strange robberies and accompanying murders. This is a strange set of circumstances for sure. A local doctor, Dr. Dabrowski (Rade Serbedzija), helps make sense of this mystery.
This film is based on real events. So no matter how crazy this story sounds, it's based in reality. The director Arto Halonen has enlisted some help in writing the script, but all the help in the world was not going to make this story make sense to me. It even seemed confusing to the characters who were in the film. The actors seemed a little out of it while delivering this ridiculous dialogue. So that's no good for those who have to watch this film.
The look of the film is not good either. It's set in the aftermath of WWII, but it is filmed inside supposed prison cells and rooms such as offices and houses. These could be anywhere or on a soundstage for all I know. There was no distinction on the location of these places even though the film takes place in Denmark. This film could take place anywhere. The filmmaking style doesn't make sense from this point of view.
I am a fan of a good WWII-set film, but this film is bad all-around, from the delivery of this nonsensical dialogue to the filmmaking style of the film. This movie is just not put together very well at all. Maybe it didn't have a big budget and that affected the overall production. Who knows? The biggest clue about this film though is the fact that it didn't come out for three years after it premiered. That's always a red flag on the quality of a film.
Murderous Trance is now available on VOD.