Movie Review: ‘Varg Veum: Buried Dogs’

John Thomas

After 30 years of service, the chairman of one of Norway’s political parties is about to retire. Marit Haug (Siv Klynderud) and Einar Bergene (Kyrre Sydness) are two candidates vying for the position. While both persons belong to the same political party, their views differ greatly.

The recent death of a young male refugee by three policemen widens the gap between Marit and Einar. Marit believes the government is responsible and should do more to help the many foreigners in Norway – rather than kill them. She is against police violence.

Einar, on the other hand, feels the police were correct in their response to dealing with the young man’s troublesome behavior outside a bar.

With the election days looming, tension between the two candidates are high. According to the polls, Marit has the lead with Einar not far behind. After a busy day of campaigning, Marit, fumbling in her purse for the keys at her apartment door, notices a hooded figure approaching her. Frightened, she runs off – the figure chases her. She hides in the building garage until the figure leaves.

It’s time for her to seek help, help in the form of Varg Veum (Trond Seim), Bergen’s noted and highly controversial investigator. He explains to her that he is not a bodyguard but an investigator, he can’t help. She still wants to hire him as someone recently broke into her Oslo apartment. Nothing was stolen, so the local police are not interested.

At an outdoor campaign event Marit and Einar are introduced to the packed crowd surrounding the elevated stage. Lurking on a rooftop opposite, a hooded figure unpacks a sniper rifle from its case. Through the scope on the rifle the sniper scans the group on the stage with the index finger hovering over the trigger.

Einar’s small daughter climbs the stage and dashes towards her father. She is soon followed by her mother who rushes to take her off the stage. The trigger is pulled. Varg is in the audience and watches as the mother falls to the ground. He immediately mounts the stage to protect Marit – he is now convinced someone is threatening her life.

Varg becomes more convinced someone has targeted Marit when a prominent newspaper features a large photograph of her hugging her female assistant while on a tropical island vacation. The headline suggests improprieties between the two women.

The soon-to-retire chairman tends to favor Einar as their conservative objectives are more in accord. In spite of this, he suggests Einar step down as Marit’s poll numbers are shrinking.

There’s one more televised presentation before the election. Each candidate has a copy of the opponent’s speech. Einar’s opening line refers to the tragic death of his wife, but it’s not reason enough for him to withdraw from the race – he will continue until elected. Marit reads the speech and is shocked to see the date the speech was written. She races to show it to the party chairman.

Directed by Alexander Eik (Credits: Atlantic Crosssing, Orkestergraven), “Buried Dogs runs 87 minutes and is a “should “see” for a glimpse into the intrigues taking place in past/present political elections.


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