Copenhagen Cops – The Department Q Trilogy

So over the long Thanksgiving weekend, I think we had just one day when the Mouth that Roared (DJT) was thankfully silent. Taking advantage of that fact, I concentrated my efforts at watching a scruffy detective out of Copenhagen, Denmark, and his partner, solve three cases.

The series which I watched on the Netflix streaming service, is actually three two-hour films. Collectively the series is called Department Q – Trilogy. But the reality is that these films were produced in 2013, 2014, and the most recent in 2016.

The first is called The Keeper of Lost Causes (in Danish Kvinden i buret). Detective Carl Mørk is just back from an extended leave. He had been recuperating from something. Mørk is a smart, even a brilliant cop, but not one given to either following orders, or being a team player. His vices include being a heavy smoker and a drinker. He’s unkempt, and that’s being generous or kind.

He doesn’t shave (or likely bathe) very often and to say that the complete package of Homicide Detective Carl Mørk is distinctly an unpleasant person seems more than apt.

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Anyway, he and his partner are on a stake out when they determine that their suspect is in the building in front of them. They are ordered to hold their positions and wait for back-up to arrive. But Mørk, played by Nikolaj Lie Kaas, isn’t about to sit there waiting. Against the orders issued and his partner’s reservations, they enter the building.

Shots are fired, and the partner is shot resulting in a serious wound. He lives but he may never walk again.

Mørk’s superiors are not happy. Not only did Mørk disobey direct orders, but now, no one is willing to work with him. So he’s removed from the Homicide Division. They demote him down to Department Q, a previously non-existent department. His task is to go through twenty years of  unsolved cold cases. In short, he’s been sent to the ‘Siberia’ of police posts anywhere in the world. Cold cases barely registers above evidence locker in most police departments. Solving the cases is not what the brass wanted. They wanted Mørk and company to simply clear the cases. The task is to close three cases a week with a written report.  In short make no waves.

Mørk is assigned a partner, a detective named Assad, played by Fares Fares, who you may have seen in Safe House, Zero Dark Thirty, and will soon be seen in the upcoming Star Wars film – Rogue One. While Mørk considers that he has been both demoted and tossed aside, Assad sees it as a promotion because he had been stamping paperwork at the train depot. Assad is a Muslim and has no personal life to speak of. He eats at the same diner every day of the week.

So to finish the set up – The Keeper of Lost Causes is about a politician who disappeared after boarding a ferry. They, the detectives who handled the original investigation have called it a suicide. But Mørk is not convinced. Check out the trailer for The Keeper of Lost Causes:

The second film is called The Absent One (in Danish – Fasandræberne). This one is about some murders in an exclusive and expensive private school. The belief is that a certain student witnessed a pair of murders of some students at this school. There’s another school of thought that this ‘witness’ also took part in these killings. By the way, this female student apparently has been missing since 1994. Seems like another lost cause doesn’t it?

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Happy Thanksgiving 2016

Well another year has passed into history, and is now a topic for books and historians. It’s been as tumultuous a year as I can remember. But that’s real life – I’m not making any such statements about the world of art. The year I referenced is not a calendar year but rather a Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving year. As has been my custom for this blog – I celebrate Thanksgiving by bringing you some art to admire, to think about, to be puzzled by – or to simply make you say WOW!

I Hope you will enjoy the art. I don’t think that there are any Art Galleries that are open today Thanksgiving Day), and maybe not too many museums, if any. So you may enjoy the selections here without taking to our nation’s roads, highways, or airports. So without further prologue or warm up lets get into it.

Art is a medium that strikes each of us differently. It doesn’t matter if you see the art on a museum wall, or in some one’s home, or even in an art gallery – your collective reactions are as different as the topics artists choose to memorialize.

The painting at the top of this post is called Old Glory. The artist is the Texan, Clinton Broyles. I led off with this work even though I know that not everyone is a fan of guns and or whiskey. But that leads us to the natural follow-up by Mr. Broyles. Yes, there’s still a gun, marked down from a rifle to a handgun, but the whiskey is not present.

This second one from Broyles is called Texas Two Step.

In case you didn’t get the score, the NFL’s hottest team right now is the Dallas Cowboys who today, Thanksgiving Day, won their 10th straight game. These two Broyles paintings also represent an art genre called Still Life – which is a kind of painting that has gotten very little coverage from me over the years.

Our next batch (of three) are about people looking at art. The first is called Puzzled and is by Chris Chapman who hails from Bournemouth in the UK. The next one is by Pauline Roche and its title is Discovering the Degas. Pauline was born in London but grew up in Australia. Her specialty is what she calls people in quiet contemplation that reveal a connection between the people and their surroundings

We’ll let Mr. Chapman close out this section with a work similar to Puzzled. He calls it Head Scratching. Even the dog isn’t sure of what he’s looking at.

Chapman is an illustrator and has done a whole series of similar works called Fraud Monet, Roy Lichtensteinish, and Jason Pillocks.

Switching gears, or should I say the type of art, let’s look at some paintings from the school of classic realism. The first two are by painter Alfredo Rodriguez.

The first is called Free Trapper. Just look at the details of his fur hat, or his beard.

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Allied

Allied is a term you don’t hear very often these days. While there are plenty of allies, or alliances, it is quite likely that when you hear the term ‘allied’ you will most likely think of a moving van company, or your thoughts will stray back to the WWII era.

Which is exactly where director Robert Zemeckis and screenplay author Stephen Knight have taken us in the brand new film Allied. The film has Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard as the leads. Pitt plays a Canadian called Max Vatan who is on loan to the British Royal Air Force, and Cotillard is a Frenchwoman called Marianne Beauséjour, who is in the French Resistance to be accurate.

We find both of them in Casablanca. Morocco, a then French colony under the control of the occupying Germans. It is 1942. Pitt, as Vatan,

parachutes in, landing in the desert, while Cotillard, is already up and running, as a smart and desirable member of the Casablanca high society. Which said another way means that she is hobnobbing with the German High Command in Morocco.

Vatan is picked up on a road that leads back to Casablanca. He’s given a suitcase which is filled with all the requisites – you know – passport, Letters of transit, cash, and of course weapons. His driver gives Vatan the intel just as he’s about to be dropped off at the tres chic nightclub, called The Rivoli,  in Casablanca.  Your wife will be in a purple dress. Look for the hummingbird.

And there she is. You can see the hummingbird’s wing at the bottom of the photo above. This is exactly what Vatan saw. Max is going to be passed off as Marianne’s husband who after many months in Paris is now able to join his wife in Casablanca.

So the tale is now in motion. There’s some concerns about Vatan’s French accent, (in the film he’s Canadian after all, but his ‘wife’ thinks he sounds like he’s from Quebec rather than Paris) and some other hurdles will come their way – but hopefully, they will be able to complete their assignment which is to assassinate the German ambassador.

Now that seems a fine set up for the movie. But the problem is that this part is only the first half of the movie. There’s a second half and almost all of that takes place in London and the some suburbs called Hampstead and Hampstead Heath.

While the first half is about the mission it is also about Pitt and Cotillard’s characters a) getting to know one another, 2) getting to care for each other, and 3) falling in love. It’s near perfection. Every box has been checked and every mark was hit. Exotic location = Yes. Spies and espionage – Yes. Action – Of course. And the love-story part.

Pitt and Cotillard get to wear the most beautiful clothes imaginable. Pitt? You’d never know he is 50 in real years. In the film he doesn’t look a day over 38.  I’ve been a fan of Cotillard for some time, and in this film they certainly didn’t skimp on her costumes. Breathtaking is a word that comes to mind.

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