THE MARCO EFFECT (2021)
Based on the book series by Jussi Adler-Olsen, the four previous Department Q films have all been solid thrillers, not compromising on darkness and violence. This new chapter is equally worthy, despite Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Fares Fares exiting the scene, letting Danish veteran actor Ulrich Thomsen take over as the complex and flawed Detective Mørck. Both men are amazing Mørcks, by the way, and Thomsen could definitely be an older version of Kaas. Why the (almost entire) cast was changed when the series was doing great is a big question mark, but it certainly has no negative impact on the film itself. After all, it’s comparable to changing one James Bond for another.
In this adaptation of the fifth book, a kid trying to enter Denmark to meet with his father wakes sleeping dogs (read Department Q) by carrying the passport of a man who was investigating missing funds within a nonprofit organization – a man who disappeared after being accused of pedophilia. It seems like a simple case of a man who ran to avoid justice, but when Mørck discovers that the investigation was open and closed in just two weeks, he gets suspicious. As the puzzle pieces start to fall into place, the trail leads back to that same organization that employed the missing man.
THE MARCO EFFECT is a cleverly built and well-edited thriller that smartly weaves in commentary about current social and political issues, calling out remorseless men and greedy corporations while offering great entertainment at the same time. If you’ve missed the previous Department Q films, don’t worry; each story stands on its own. (ANNICK MAHNERT)