Forbrydelsens element / The element of crime (1984)

von Trier’s first feature film is heady stuff indeed, wallowing willingly in tired crime clichés.

»I was the last European to go.«

An exotic, suggestive, bizarre murder mystery concerning memory, identity, and repetition.

»I wrote fiction. It wasn’t science.«

A brown-yellowish noir, set in a world of wet decay.

»Harry me, marry me, bury me.«

Crisp, dramatic sound combined with dark and muddled images.

»Mad men don’t have motives.«

Contrived, unnatural, anachronistic – and filled with pregnant dialogue.

»I cannot stop until I understand.«

Probably even more ominous and scary today.

»It’s anarchy in these parts, not freedom.«

And finally; The Dive.

»Remember, gentlemen, we are Europeans.«

Stunning, though with an unsatisfactory only-maybe-in-my-book ending.

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