Nordic authors have penned some of the most memorable crime fiction of the 21st century, telling stories about appalling real-world evil with clinical detail. Writer-director Óskar Thór Axelsson's "I Remember You" (adapted from a novel by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir) couples the matter-of-fact approach of Scandinavian noir with the conventions of the supernatural thriller, producing something distinctive, if too reserved.
The film follows two story lines, which take a while to connect. In one, a psychiatrist named Freyr (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson) helps a small town cope with a bizarre suicide in a local church, then is disturbed to learn the dead woman had been researching the disappearance of the doctor's own son, years earlier.
In the other, three friends (including Anna Gunndís Guðmundsdóttir) who are renovating a house begin to sense a malevolent presence and see unexplained markings that may be related to Freyr's suicide case. Gradually, the trio's secrets — and their own tragedies — bubble up and boil over.
"Gradually" is the key word. "I Remember You" moves at a glacial pace. Axelsson relies too much on picturesque scenery and subtle dramatic performances to engage the audience whenever not much is happening.
But while the horror elements certainly could have been more horrifying, "I Remember You" does have a strong sense of place and character. The genre's a little twisted, but the film should still appeal to fans of books about moody detectives, doggedly pursuing justice against a frosty backdrop.
‘I Remember You’
In Icelandic with English subtitles.
Running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood