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City State or Borgariki, is a twisted tail of criminals foreign and
domestic and their dealings with somewhat questionable police force.
Set in the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik, it mirrors some aspects of
what has been supposedly happening during the last decade as foreign
criminals take on the their somewhat softer counterparts in Iceland.
Each scene of this movie plays wonderfully on its own, with all the actors doing some of their best work (at least in this type of a movie) and filming and sound/music really well done. It was wonderfully surprising to see Jonathan Pryce pop up couple of times and the almost amateur actor Zlatko Krickic was superb.
The downfall of the film is its cutting. It could be possible that the story was somewhat at fault, but mostly it felt as each scene was not related to the next. There were even some totally unnecessary time jumping, which looked to be done as an afterthought.
City state would have been a better movie with faster pace, tighter story and cutting. Having said that, this film goes on my list of Icelandic films I recommend to foreigners.
Structurally and thematically similar to Doug Liman's "Go" and of course "Pulp Fiction" - the template to too many multi-stranded, time-hopping urban crime dramas - City State's milieu, a drab Iceland entirely devoid of folkloric landscapes, is more original than the content. It is a tale briskly told, that trades depth for pace, and some suspension of disbelief is required for the plot to convince. However the performances- particularly Zlatko Krickic - do partly compensate for the sketchy nature of the narrative, although both British actors seem even more out of place than their characters. Ultimately the combination of fashionable verite camera-work and grim mise en scene bolted onto contrived story-telling does not quite work and a promising socio-political drama about immigration, crime and authority barely peeps through its gangland mask.
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