Movie Review: Drownings

By John Thomas

‘Freezing Embrace’ – Directed by Mikko Kuparinen

While the police chief is home grieving a loss in a drunken stupor, his next in command, Antti (Mikko Leppilampi) is called to investigate a drowning. A young soccer player has been found floating face down in the local river. There are no signs of a struggle. His death is sad but not worthy of much investigation as most likely “heavy partying” at a pub nearby has contributed to his death.

The next drowning is of more concern, so much so that Antti calls a meeting of his police team. A recent member of this group is a young recruit who happens to be the son of a seasoned police officer. The national police investigating team was called in after the third drowning. Their more detailed research shows a series of drownings across Finland over a period of years.

The local police chief stops drinking and returns to work – no one is pleased with his return. He agrees with the national team that the times and locations of these deaths follow the places and times where the new recruit had lived. The young man becomes their prime suspect and is jailed.

The national police, who have been anxious for a quick solution to the cases, become more willing to cooperate with the locals. Together they find an alternate perpetrator to the killings. Someone who has been hiding in plain sight all along – a person from the distant past.

‘Enemy of the People’ – Directed by Petri Kotwica

The curious drowning of a famed Finish football star at his home in Spain is devastating for his fans in Finland. The local media is in a frenzy. At the staff meeting of a prominent newspaper, reporter Katja (Kreeta Salmien) is especially intrigued and sees a potential story. She travels to Spain to interview the player’s grieving wife. She tells Katja that her late husband had recently donated two million euros to construct a new stadium in their hometown.

The amount requires further investigation because six million euros have also recently been donated to the yet-to-be-built same stadium. Katja’s research also shows curiously shady dealings of large sums of money surrounding the sale and development of a large plot of land outside of town. She also discovers that huge sums of Finish money have been moving around from one offshore account to another and from one country to another.

In other news, a local entrepreneur is about to announce Finland’s first cryptocurrency – VersoCoin. Civic leaders are excited as VersoCoin will bring global attention to their community - and lots of money.

More research by Katja shows a small group of local influential citizens support VersoCoin. Her life is suddenly in danger. When the wife of the soccer star returns to Finland for his funeral, the pieces of the puzzle Katja has been so carefully collecting come together. The picture is now clear.

These two series tell very interesting and current-to-the-times stories. They do so without big international stars and endless overwhelming special effects. The acting, sets, filming and directing are all of fine quality. Excitement builds slowly to the conclusion of each series and the answer to who is responsible is revealed. The answer to each is a real surprise.

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