Rekjavik-Rotterdam: a struggling ex-con must secure his family’s safety by doing one final smuggling run. The film plays out like a stripped down heist/crime movie – but keeps its feet firmly on the ground, and whilst none of the story elements are particularly original, the execution is great. Equally impressive are the cream of Iceland‘s current talent – Kormákur creates a believable, desperate man, and everyone down to the stock muscle/thug guys feel like real characters. The story unfolds with excitement, tension, action and some comedy moments, so it’s well-balanced remains very watchable. The final 15 minutes wrap up the film cleverly, and there’s a cheeky passing use of a Jackson Pollock painting. Unsurprisingly, a film this good has already been remade and released in the ‘States as ‘Contraband’, starring Mark Wahlberg (interestingly, directed by the lead actor of this version). Rekjavik Rotterdam is a rock-solid, European thriller/drama that will hopefully open up a wave of new talent and movies from a country that’s relatively unknown for it’s cinema. I think Hollywood will struggle to match the heart and execution this version, but conceal that by turning everything up to eleven – absolutely check this version out.

Score: 7.5/10

  1. Nostra said:

    Being from Rotterdam I was wondering if part of this movie have been shot there? Hadn’t heard of this movie before….


    • Paragraph Film Reviews said:

      Not sure if it’s actually filmed there, but there is about 20 mins set in Rotterdam, and a few Dutch gangsters too!


      • Nostra said:

        In that case I will have to check it out! :)


  2. I was wondering if you’ve seen “Contraband” and if so which one is better? Are there references in this film that I have to see to enhance my viewing of the remake?


    • Paragraph Film Reviews said:

      Contraband’s out in the UK in a couple of weeks. Desperate to see it. Looks like they’ve swapped pure alcohol for counterfeit money and turned the action up to 11… although the trailer looks surprisingly good.

      Don’t think it would do you any harm to watch this version first.


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