Saturday, 21 April 2018

Control [2017] (4 Stars)

This is the first film in the Stuttgart Nights Festival.

This year's Stuttgart Nights Festival kicked off with a crime thriller, an adaptation of the 1990 novel "Double Face" by the Belgian author Jef Geeraerts. He wrote a series of books about the police detectives Eric Vincke und Freddy Verstuyft, and this is the third of the novels to be filmed. Eric Vincke (on the right in the picture above) is an efficient policeman who does everything by the book. Freddy Verstuyft (on the left) relies on his instincts to solve cases, cutting corners when he thinks the rule book is holding him back. Which method of police work is more efficient? I don't think it's a spoiler for me to tell you that criminal cases need a combination of the two. That's why Eric and Freddy are partners, even if they're constantly arguing about what to do next.

The film takes place in a town in the Dutch-speaking area of Belgium. Six dead women are found buried close to one another near the woods. They're all naked, and all of their heads have been removed. The bodies were buried over a period of about two years. Further investigation shows that there was a similar unsolved case in Germany: three headless bodies were found near Cologne (Köln) that had been buried between 1981 and 1983. The detectives concentrate their investigations on people who had lived in Cologne before moving to Belgium.

Eric, working by the book, calls in a distinguished psychological profiler from Holland to help determine what sort of killer they are dealing with. Freddy ridicules the opinions of the profiler. He's more interested in a woman found hiding naked in the bushes near the woods. She seems to have been drugged and is suffering from partial memory loss. Freddy thinks that she should have been the next victim, but the killer let her go when he was disturbed by the digging in the woods. Eric thinks she has nothing to do with the case and tells Freddy to stop investigating her.

I'm not a big fan of crime thrillers, but this is a very good film. I'd like to see the other two films starring the detectives Vincke and Verstuyft.

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