"Beck" is the first of a planned 16 new films about fictional Stockholm policeman Martin Beck, created by novelists Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. Stylistically inspired by "Seven," it's an efficient little thriller, but the character shows all the signs of a commercial, more violent updating from the one immortalized in such pics as Bo Widerberg's "The Man on the Roof" and Stuart Rosenberg's "The Laughing Policeman."

Beck” is the first of a planned 16 new films about fictional Stockholm policeman Martin Beck, created by novelists Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. Stylistically inspired by “Seven,” it’s an efficient little thriller, but the character shows all the signs of a commercial, more violent updating from the one immortalized in such pics as Bo Widerberg’s “The Man on the Roof,” Stuart Rosenberg’s “The Laughing Policeman” and six recent Swedish features starring Gosta Ekman. Film has commercial promise, at least in Europe.

Unlike the Beck in the 10 Sjowall-Wahloo novels, this late-’90s version wears a gun, and his colleague Gunvald Larsson beats up suspects to get them to confess. Scripter Rolf Borjlind apparently received permission from Sjowall to write these totally new stories (Wahloo died years ago).

Yarn centers on the hunt for a pedophile who kills his young victims. It’s shot in a hectic and feverish style, with brisk pacing and some brutal but discreet violence.

Peter Haber is good as Beck, but the most powerful screen presence here belongs to Mikael Persbrandt, as Larsson. He has a combination of raw energy and charisma that could take him a long way as an actor.

Beck

SWEDISH-GERMAN-DANISH

Production

An Egmont Film release (in Sweden) of a Victoria Film, FilmLance Intl., TV4 (Sweden)/Frankfurter Film Produktion (Germany)/TV2 (Denmark) production, in association with FilmNet and TV2 Norge. (International sales: J&M Entertainment, London.) Produced by Lars Blomgren, Thomas Lydholm. Executive producer, Ole Sondberg. Directed by Pelle Seth. Screenplay, Rolf Borjlind, inspired by characters created by Maj Sjowall, Per Wahlo

Crew

Camera (color), John Christian Rosenlund; editor, Felix Herngren; music, Ulf Dageby; art direction, Lasse Westfelt; costumes, Mona Theresia Forsin; sound (Dolby SR), Paul Jyrala, Olli Parnanen. Reviewed at Haugesund Film Festival, Norway, Aug. 16, 1997. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Martin Beck ..... Peter Haber Gunvald Larsson ..... Mikael Persbrandt Benny Skacke ..... Figge Norling Lena Klingstrom ..... Stina Rautelin Joakim Wersin ..... Per Morberg Judge Lagerfeldt ..... Niklas Falk The Neighbor ..... Ingvar Hirdwall Inger ..... Rebecka Hemse

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