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The Element of Crime (1984)
"Forbrydelsens element" (original title)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 5,982 users  
Reviews: 40 user | 52 critic

A cop in a dystopian Europe investigates a serial killings suspect using controversial methods written by his now disgraced former mentor.

Director:

(as Lars Von Trier)

Writers:

, (dialogue translation), 2 more credits »
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12 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Osborne
Me Me Lai ...
Kim (as Meme Lai)
Jerold Wells ...
Kramer
Ahmed El Shenawi ...
Therapist
Astrid Henning-Jensen ...
House Keeper
János Herskó ...
Coroner (as Janos Hersko)
Stig Larsson ...
Coroner's Assistant
Harry Harper ...
Portier 1
Roman Moszkowicz ...
Portier 2
...
Schmuck of Ages (as Lars Von Trier)
Frederik Casby ...
White Policeman
Duke Addabayo ...
Black Policeman
Jon Bang Carlsen ...
Angry Policeman (as Jon Bang-Carlsen)
Leif Magnusson ...
Hotel Guest
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Storyline

Fisher, an ex-cop, returns to his old beat somewhere in northern Europe after a thirteen-year hiatus in Cairo. His former mentor and role model, author of a treatise called "The Element of Crime", asks him to solve a series of murders involving lottery ticket sellers. Guided by the theories put forth in the book, Fischer retraces the steps of a suspect, Harry Grey, as recorded in a three-year-old police surveillance report. Written by Eddi Sommer <eddi@gmd.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

europe | method | headache | return | hypnosis | See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 May 1984 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

The Element of Crime  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first film in Lars von Trier's 'Europa' trilogy which illuminates the traumas of Europe in the future. The two other parts are Epidemic (1987) and Europa (1991). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Therapist: [to Fisher] Fantasy is OK, but my job to keep you on the right track. We are after the facts. You seem to return to Cairo and me whenever you have a problem. Two months ago you left Cairo, your wife, everything for a police job in Europe. Now you are back haunted by headaches. If you want me to help you get rid of these headaches, we must go back two months in the time. Back to where it all started. All I know... Europe has become an obsession for you.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Europa (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Der Letzte Tourist in Europa
By Mogens Dam, Henrik Blichmann
Translated by Waltraut Andersen
Sung by Sonja Kehler
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nightmarish, beautiful, haunting
3 March 2000 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

The plots follows the descent of a reactivated ex-cop, Fisher, into a killer's mind, using a method he has been taught by his old teacher, Osborne. The backdrop of the story is Europe in an unspecified future and after an unnamed catastrophe that let the continent fall in a perpetual darkness, an apocalyptic, anarchic gloominess. More and more, Fisher becomes like the killer as he gets increasingly fascinated with the strangely complex set-up of the murders...

Ultimately, this is a film about moral corruption and cultural decline of the western world. In the tradition of cultural pessimism from the beginning of the century, it paints a gruesome picture of a world devoid of decency and morale. "I want you to screw God into me.", these words spoken by Kim, a hooker Fisher picks up during his travels, are maybe the best expression of the ultimate loss of any metaphysical sense of belonging.

The style of the movie reflects this gloominess beautifully.

There are dark and gruesome nightmares you had that linger on in your mind and strangely, sometimes in your waking hours, you wish you'd get back to taste the sweet despair again... This movie is one of them.


13 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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