Óskar Thór Axelsson‘s Black’s Game (Svartur á leik, 2013) (NSFW) is an entirely shocking period action film that reveals the brutally gruesome and violent underbelly of the Icelandic drug trade of 1999. Prepare yourself to stay on the edge of your seat the entire time you watch this flick because anything that could happen, will happen. Black’s Game features an intimidating and gritty cast of characters aptly chosen to bring forth the realistic brutality of gang violence amidst the dark world of the Icelandic underworld featuring a lot of drugs, sex (sexual assault) and unmerciful gang violence. If you are willing–prepare yourself for a helluva ride.
Stebbi (Thor Kristjansson) is a college student who, in a drunken stupor, attacked a fellow bar patron late one night in 1999. He was arrested and held overnight and due to be charged with the crime of assault. Luckily, he reunites with an old friend named Tóti (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson) who says he can get him an excellent lawyer to help him beat the charge. Stebbi soon finds out Tóti is involved in the violent drug trade, and becomes involved, himself, in exchange for his lawyer’s services, catapulting him–and I must stress this–into a dark world filled with overwhelming graphic violence, plenty of blow, nudity, and sexual abuse–all at once.
Black’s Game is far from your average, everyday action film. It doesn’t rely on big budgeted explosions to distract your attention. Nearly every moment in the movie is filled with delicious anticipation of what will happen next, and there’s enough erratic dialogue that won’t allow much for a story–but what it lacks in chatter, pulls its weight elsewhere…and then some. From Stebbi’s accidental introduction to the Icelandic crime world, Tóti’s massive size and aura that radiates clear danger, to Bruno (Damon Younger) the psychotic crime boss. The film does contain overwhelming nudity and violence that is hauntingly realistic.
For what it’s worth, the film isn’t entirely original; you get a bit of The Godfather in one scene involving horse stables, and a Tarantino’s Grindhouse camera style in another. Awesome production value overall, but the talking parts are it’s only weak point. In fact, the film is even better when there is no talking at all.
I warn you, though recommended, the film is NSFW (Not Safe For Work).