The fact that Black Crab was released right now by Netflix , when a terrible conflict is bleeding and dividing Europe and holding the whole globe in suspense,
 certainly raises some concerns .


However, it must be acknowledged that Adam Berg , a director who has been faithful up to now to video clips, has been able to sew an innovative War Movie.

It Is able to recover the atmospheres and themes dear to that anti-war filmography that had in men like Sam Fuller or Aldrich of the true masters. Certainly a difficult film, disturbing and different from the norm, at least until almost the end.

A war in the ice

The protagonist is Caroline Edith (Noomi Rapace), a Swedish citizen who, like many others, has been dealing with a terrifying war for some time, which has made the Nordic countries a hell made of ice, poverty and deprivation, in which only the law of stronger is a state of war which has made the wolf man than his fellow man. Caroline had her daughter kidnapped at the beginning of the conflict, but now she is offered a super secret mission by her superiors, accomplished which she is promised that she will have a chance to hug her daughter again, that she will not he has been seeing for some time. Together with another select group of soldiers, she will have to transport two mysterious containers across the frozen sea to a secret base, using only the skates and trying to escape the enemy, which is now besieging the entire front line.

Caroline knows nothing of her companions, of their motivations, she only knows that it is a suicide mission, from which however she must return absolutely victorious, at least if she wants to find her daughter, get back a life if not normal, at least free from here nightmares and a sense of guilt that does not allow her to go on.

The mission is a nightmare made of snow, ice and above all suspicions, since in reality the Black Crab (this is the name of the operation) is the last hope of victory for the army to which they all belong, now subjected to a unbearable pressure, which causes the fate of everyone’s loved ones to be uncertain and cause for disputes and doubts. Berg’s film from the very beginning marries a dark atmosphere, very violent not so much in the visual dimension but in the psychological one, it moves away from the action clichés that have often made war an adrenalin rush even recently. Here, on the other hand, the concept of confrontation and siege dominates as an attack on the psyche and the bodies of its protagonists.

A film with too many souls

Black Crab thanks to the beautiful photograph byJonas Alarik , makes the most of the wild, empty and merciless nature, which surrounds these souls lost in a hurricane whose nature and motivation we do not know, but which basically we don’t even need to know, and always the same for centuries. The screenplay owes a lot to the novel of the same name by Jerker Virdborg , who dedicated himself to reworking it together with Berg and Pelle Rådström . The final result substitutes the psychological dynamics not excessively for that of weapons, although there are moments full of tension and a violence that manifests itself in more unpredictable ways, between the protagonists as well as towards those who have the misfortune to meet them.

The feeling of the end of the world, of an imminent apocalypse, brings to mind for a few moments a masterpiece such as The Sons of Men by Alfonso Cuaròn . Here, too, there is the feeling of the end of civilization, of the denial of any rule of solidarity and of those superstructures that today we take for granted, just as they took them for granted until a few years ago also in Ukraine.

It is useless to deny it, the thought flies right to Eastern Europe, to a war in which, as in this film, the truth is the first victim of the war, as valid for civilians as for the soldiers themselves, cannon fodder coldly spread on the table aside. of a power they can never really look in the eye.

However, the further one goes on, the more a certain uncertainty of tone also emerges, since Berg seems to want to connect now to a metaphorical tale with great political symbolism, now to an existential narrative essence, and then conclude with a sort of Thriller. Too much meat on the fire, an identity that escapes and that certainly remains a complete menu of what could have been.

A work less perfect than it could have been

Compared to great Nordic titles such as Brothers or A War , Black Crab certainly cannot boast a particular depth in the characters, who nevertheless remain impressed net of a certain predictability that takes hold of the whole from three quarters onwards.

But it is undeniable that Black Crab works , it is intense, fascinating, a journey towards a hell made of illusions, dominated by a Noomi Rapace  who confirms herself as an actress of great intensity and credibility. His Caroline wanders like a kind of crazed Valkyrie, basically she is the only woman of the group, yet she is the most resistant, the most stubborn, but she is also the most short-sighted, the most selfish as far as we have moved from a natural understanding towards his motivation.

The enemy is invisible and cruel, he too is made of bones, blood and torn bodies, yet he is the object of a cult of hatred, with all due respect to a good part of both literary and cinematographic memoirs, which often gave us tales of men divided by arms but united by natural instinct. Here we hear the echo of ideology, of a path with no way out, wisely connected to the myth of the final victory, of the secret weapon, which also makes it in some ways a work that can be interesting, for those who perhaps want to go as far as to understand what state of mind characterized the soldiers of the armies close to defeat. Too bad, however, for the lack of courage at the end, for an inability to go beyond the literary original, to dare, even if only from a technical point of view,

However, the final evaluation can only be positive, if only for the skill of the Rapace, also of Aliette Opheim, Jakob Oftebro, Dar Salim and the others of the cast. A small tragedy in arms, with a tragically current flavor, perhaps for this reason not as powerful as it could be. Reality has gone beyond fantasy for a while …