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

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 5,937 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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Title: The Element of Crime (1984)

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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 »


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

"The Silence of the Lambs" meets "Delicatessen"
3 May 2008 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

Lars Von Trier's feature début is a stylish, extremely bizarre and intriguing tapestry about an ex-cop (Michael Elphick) who obsessively pursues a serial killer. Playing with different film genres and supported by a fantastic production design, "The Element of Crime" was very different from what I expected, but not in a bad way. This is the first film in Lars' 'Europe trilogy', followed by "Epidemic" (1987) and "Zentropa" (1991). Influenced by Fritz Lang, Terry Gilliam and many others, the film also has a voice of its own (Von Trier's raging verve); I'd call it "The Silence of the Lambs" meets "Delicatessen", so you can have an idea of how bizarre it is. If that sounds interesting to you, you should check it; even if you're not into the likes of "Dogville" or "Breaking the Waves", you may still appreciate it. Interesting for Von Trier fans and admirers of puzzles alike. 8/10.


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