Thriller focuses on serial killer

MOSCOW — Lasse Hallstrom’s “The Hypnotist,” the helmer’s first movie in his native country in a quarter of a century and his first thriller, has been chosen as Sweden’s entry for the foreign language film Oscar.

Based on Lars Kepler’s bestseller, the film follows a murderer killing the members of a single family one by one. A psychiatrist uses hypnotism to glean clues from a son who survives a murder attempt, with serious injuries, before the killer reaches his last victim.

Mikael Persbrandt plays the psychiatrist with Hallstrom’s wife Lena Olin as his spouse. Tobias Zilliacus stars as police detective Joona Linna.

“The Hypnotist” is the first of a series of eight novels by Kepler — the pen name of husband and wife writers Alexander and Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril.

Film is slated for competition at San Sebastian Film Festival later this month and theatrical release in Sweden on Sept. 28.

International sales are organized through SvenskFilmindunstri, which is also the distributor for the Nordic territories.

It was sold to more than 30 non-Nordic countries before shooting began late last year.

The pic was produced by Peter Possne, Borje Hansson and Bertil Olsson from Sonet and SvenskFilmindustri, and received funding from the Swedish Film Institute.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the five nominees for best foreign film on Jan. 15. The 85th Academy Awards ceremony takes place Feb. 24.

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