having now seen three or four Norwegian policiers, I can only surmise that Norway is a country with some seriously messed-up police. In every film, the detective comes from the big city (Oslo) to some exotic rural northern town where the locals all hate him. Halfway through Bloody Angels, I realized that its American equivalent would be something like Mississippi Burning, where the northern FBI agent shows up full of righteous indignation and gets ignored/abused/misled by the local rednecks.
Nicholas Ramm (Reidar Sørensen) arrives to investigate the murder of a young thug. The townsfolk believe that the thug raped and murdered a young girl some months earlier, in collaboration with his brother, who has gone missing.
The film strains credulity at a couple of points. It completely lost me when Ramm faces down five balaclavaed thugs and, rather than pull his gun and wound a couple of them, he chooses to let himself get beaten to a bloody pulp.
Julsrud has extensive television experience, but fortunately it doesn't show. She has conceived Bloody Angels in very cinematic terms, and her script has the requisite number of clues and red herrings to form an engrossing mystery as well as a creditable study of vigilante violence in an inbred community.
It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1999. I remembered it as being in black-and-white, but a second look reminded me that while it has a remarkably monochromatic palette -- Norway in winter being mostly white skies and evergreen trees so dark that they seem black -- it is in colour.
BLOODY ANGELS directed by Karin Julsrud, written by Kjetil Indregard and Finn Gjerdrum, produced by Gjerdrum, with Reidar Srensen, Gaute Skjegstad, Trond Hvik and Stig Henrik Hoff. 96 minutes. A Merkur Films production. An Odeon Films release. Opens Friday (October 12). For venues and times, see First-Run Movies, page 79. Rating: NNN