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Wildland - A Compelling Gangster Movie

Wildland - A Compelling Gangster Movie

Ida (Sandra Guldberg Kampp), 17, is transferred to live with her estranged aunt Bodil (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and her three grown-up boys when her mother is killed in a car accident (Joachim Fjelstrup, Elliott Crosset Hove, Besir Zeciri). Ida soon realizes that the family is not only close-knit, but also runs a vicious debt-collection business.

Kd & Blod, which translates to "flesh and blood," is the Danish title for Wildland. The original moniker gets to the heart of debutante director Jeanette Nordahl's evocative slice of Scandi noir, showing not just the film's visceral dark heart but also the twisted family ties at its center. You can locate it under the genre of crime on any streaming site, but that doesn't do credit to its many shades, from its picture of a dissatisfied adolescent to its exercise in tightly coiled dread.

Nordahl, who worked as a second unit director on the Danish political drama Borgen, establishes her distinct tone of voice right away, with a disturbing sight of an upturned car and an expressionist montage depicting a trip to the hospital. Ida (Sandra Guldberg Kampp), 17, is revealed to have survived the vehicle accident that killed her drug-addicted mother. She then moves to the Danish suburbs to live with her aunt Bodil (Sidse Babett Knudsen), whom she hasn't seen since she was a child, and her cousins: alpha male Jonas (Fjel Joachim Fjelstrup), always AWOL David (Elliott Crosset Hove), and video-game junkie Mads (Besir Zeciri).

Bodil is the housekeeper, and despite his cheery demeanor, he has a steely heart. Because, as tight and sensual as this family is, the family business is a terrifying debt-collection ring, with early shots of their criminal actions playing out on Ida's face as she waits in the car while the brothers go to work in the background. Of course, one of the collections goes tragically wrong, forcing Ida to choose between remaining silent and giving her social worker the truth.


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