EUFF 2015: The Keeper of Lost Causes
Featuring shades of murder mystery and conspiracy film, Danish crime thriller The Keeper of Lost Causes follows a detective struggling to find his place in the world after being reassigned. Given strict orders to merely read through cold case files, Detective Carl Mørck (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) and his new assistant, Assad (Fares Fares), quickly become obsessed with solving the disappearance of politician Merete Lynggaard (Sonja Richter). The search for answers leads the duo down the path of the average mystery/procedural, where they run into a typical cast of characters.
In spite of its traditional, somewhat generic plot, The Keeper of Lost Causes keeps things entertaining thanks to a few subversions that help maintain an element of surprise. A brain-damaged witness provides a unique aspect, and the manner in which Carl and Assad go about interrogating the young man is oddly suspenseful. Unfortunately, The Keeper of Lost Causes lacks the element that makes the greatest detective stories so engaging—we never really come to know Carl and Assad. Only the basic nature of their characters is revealed (Carl is more of a hothead while Assad is a bit more meticulous), instead of providing development or a backstory. Performances from the two leads are good enough—certainly passable—but since the film simply doesn’t give the actors the opportunity to showcase their skills, the characters are forced to take a back seat to their investigation itself. With a running time of just over ninety minutes, there’s no reason why more character development couldn’t have been included, and it likely would’ve made the film feel more complete. But The Keeper of Lost Causes is entertaining enough to get a recommendation for fans of this brand of cinema.