Critical Condition: Below the Surface

Below the Surface | Lightbox, from Tuesday

➢ “Thrilling from the off, this Danish crime drama set in Copenhagen opens with the hijacking of a subway train where 15 members of the public are taken hostage by a group of captors (political affiliation unknown) asking for €4m. A counter-terrorism taskforce led by Philip Norgaard (Johannes Lassen), a former hostage plagued by flashbacks of his own ordeal, is brought in to save the day while live footage of the events is broadcast to the captivated capital via an ambitious news reporter.” — The Guardian.

➢ “Norgaard’s past will undoubtedly be tangled up in all this, although you start to suspect that the hostages — pretty blonde student, grumpy businessman, pair of old codger pals, an old woman from central casting etc — are not quite as randomly chosen as they first appear. It is a solid rather than a spectacular start, but it has promise and makes a refreshing change from the usual slew of murdered young women.” — The Times.

➢ “Taps into a modern urban nightmare, not just of being trapped on the underground but of being trapped there by some crazed murderers who think they are doing it for a cause. If claustrophobia is your bag, then take the escalator down to this unfinished spur of Copenhagen’s metro system where 15 commuters are caged up at the hands of a masked trio … It is apparent from the involvement of TV newshound Naja Toft (Paprika Steen) and the time given over to committees where people in suits debated the moral, economic and political ramifications of negotiating with terrorists, that this is not your standard white-knuckle ride.” — The Express.

➢ “Any crime drama that features The Killing’s Søren Sveistrup and Borgen’s Adam Price as executive producers (along with Meta Louise Foldager Sorensen (A Royal Affair)), and is created by Dicte’s Kasper Barfoed, demands a look right from the get-go. It’s like Danish drama royalty getting together for a project. Add in lots of actors you instantly recognise, and Below The Surface (Gidseltagningen) has all the hallmarks of a hit … The first two episodes flew by, and it was an intelligently-plotted, interesting and intriguing story with characters and scenarios you wanted to get to know and find out more about.” — The Killing Times.

➢ “It revolves around a hostage situation in the middle of Copenhagen which slowly unveils the true nature of not only the hostages and captors but the community that follows the violent event as well. Weaving back and forth between a high-paced thriller and character drama it is largely the work of Barfoed, who has directed five feature films and a dozen TV episodes. Its tension builds from minute one.” — Variety.

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