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Daniel Alfredson
Ben Kingsley, Benno Fürmann, Tuva Novotny
Writing Credits:
Daniel Alfredson, Birgitta Bongenhielm

After he believes he killed her, a man believes that his wife remains alive.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 106 min.
Price: $22.99
Release Date: 3/17/2020

• “The Making of Intrigo” Featurette
• “A Portrait of Håkan Nesser” Featurette
• Previews & Trailers


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Intrigo: Death of an Author [Blu-Ray] (2018)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 29, 2020)

Based on the work of novelist Håkan Nesser, 2018’s Intrigo: Death of an Author acts as the first in a trilogy of films. All three share director Daniel Alfredson behind the camera and stem from Nesser’s writing, but they address different characters.

In Death, author David Schwartz (Benno Fürmann) contrives to murder his wife Eva (Tuva Novotny) after she announces plans to leave him. Though she appears to die, no one ever finds her corpse, so David develops the belief that she remains alive.

Three years later, famed writer Germund Rein commits suicide, and David gets the task to translate Rein’s final work. As he does so, David finds himself intrigued by Rein’s sexy widow Mariam (Daniela Lavender), and matters take a turn, all while he attempts to ascertain whether or not Eva survived.

If you look at the Blu-ray cover to the left, you’ll see the big bald noggin of Ben Kingsley, and you’ll notice that he receives top billing for Death. View the film’s trailer and you’ll firmly believe Kingsley plays the main role in the flick.

Nope – Fürmann dominates, and Kingsley’s “Henderson” character exists as a framing device. At the start, “Henry” visits Henderson and shows him a novel, one that tells the story of David and Eva.

This leads to some intrigue in theory, and it gives Death a “meta” tone, as we see the author provide a fictionalized version of real events.

I guess – who knows, and more importantly, who cares? The framing structure that involves Henderson and Henry feels like nothing more than a cheap gimmick to make the film seem much more creative than it is. It also brings a ridiculous twist at the end that comes across like another attempt to redeem this turgid tale.

Inherently Hitchcockian, we see shades of that master’s work, with a more than minor Vertigo vibe. Unfortunately, Alfredson does absolutely nothing to create any form of drama – psychological or otherwise – in this horriibly inert tale.

Not that all of the blame lands on Alfredson’s shoulders, as Fürmann provides a profoundly dull lead character. He presents the most boring “obsessed man” ever, as he always seems more vaguely anxious than troubled and unhinged.

Fürmann simply lacks any sense of urgency or personality. He leaves a massive, gaping hole at the center of the movie via his limp performance.

Still, I think Alfredson’s inability to create any form of tension here becomes an even bigger issue. Death seems loose and rambling, without much substance at its core to hook the viewer.

This means we go down nearly random paths as Alfredson attempts to fashion a thriller. None of these succeed, and we find ourselves bored because we never invest in any of the elements.

Do we care if Eva remains alive? Do we care if David finds her? Do we care if David gets busy with Mariam? Does any of this intrigue us?

No, no, no and no. Instead, the mind floats to other topics, like “how much did they pay Kingsley to get him to appear in this stinker?”

Hopefully Sir Ben got a nice payday. Death won’t become a horrifying blot on his filmography, but he’ll want to forget his involvement in this dreadfully boring attempt at a thriller.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B-/ Bonus C-

Intrigo: Death of an Author appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a pleasant presentation.

Sharpness was positive. Virtually no softness materialized, so the image remained tight and well-defined.

I noticed no issues with shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes failed to appear. Print flaws also failed to mar the presentation.

Death went with a teal-influenced palette that sprinkled in some amber/orange as well. Within the movie’s color design, the tones seemed solid.

Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows demonstrated nice smoothness. This was a consistently satisfying image.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix of Death, it showed moderate scope. The film’s material allowed it to open up in a satisfying manner when necessary

The mix used the music in a broad, engaging manner, and the whole package fit together smoothly. Effects didn’t add a ton, but they brought some decent involvement when appropriate.

Audio quality seemed good. Speech was distinctive and natural, without edginess or other issues.

Music seemed warm and lush, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy. Bass responses delivered great punch. The mix suited the story.

Two featurettes appear, and The Making of Intrigo runs 32 minutes, 50 seconds. It brings notes from writer/director Daniel Alfredson, literary agent Elisabet Brännström, senior editor Magnus Bergh, screenwriter Ditta Bongenhielm, author Håkan Nesser, producers Thomas Friedl and Rick Dugdale, editor Håkan Karlsson, VFX producer Peter Mattsson, composers Anders Niska and Klas Wahl, and actors Benno Fürmann, Ben Kingsley, Andrew Buchan, Veronica Ferres, Gemma Chan, Phoebe Fox, and Carla Juri.

“Making” examines the source text and its adaptation into a trilogy, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, photography, Alfredson’s impact on the production, editing, and music.

With more than a half an hour at the program’s disposal, I hoped it’d offer a fairly deep look at the production. While not bad, “Making” tends to feel fairly superficial. It occasionally provides worthwhile nuggets, but much of it seems promotional and laudatory in nature.

A Portrait of Håkan Nesser spans 17 minutes, 40 seconds and involves Nesser, Bergh, and Brännström. As expected, “Portrait” provides some details about Nesser’s life and career. Like “Making”, we get a smattering of useful tidbits, but the general tone orients toward praise and superficial content.

The disc opens with ads for Trauma Center, The Courier, Angel of Mine, and The Poison Rose. We also get trailers for Death of an Author, Intrigo: Dear Agnes and the Intrigo Anthology.

With its Hitchcockian nature and mix of potentially intriguing plot points, Intrigo: Death of an Author brims with possible drama. Alas, it squanders all its positives and delivers a limp, dull tale. The Blu-ray offers excellent visuals as well as good audio and a few bonus features. This winds up as a less than mediocre thriller.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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