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Deadly Drift (Dödlig Drift) 
Written by: on December 22nd, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: 12 March 1999 (Sweden)
Approximate running time:
105mins
Aspect ratio (Video format):
1.85:1 Widescreen
Language:
Swedish
Certificate:
16 (Iceland), 18 (Norway), 15 (Sweden)

Director: Rolf Börjlind
Producer:
Christer Abrahamsen
Screenplay:
Rolf Börjlind, Bo Norgren
Cinematography:
Esa Vuorinen
Cast:
Mikael Persbrandt, Stefan Sauk, Andrea Vagn Jensen, Kjell Bergqvist, Sissela Kyle, Suzanne Reuter, Jakob Eklund, Sten Ljunggren, Inga Landgré, Lina Englund

A psychopath (played by Persbrandt) is driven by an inner force to prey on young attractive women. He commits his gruesome lascivious murders by cutting up the victims using a pair of scissors – also video filming his own actions – and in one or another case, it turns out he has had anal as well as vaginal sex with the corpse. As bodies (and body parts) soon are found at various locations scattered all over the city of Stockholm, the wooden police officers Fallenius, Hansson and Eriksson are assigned the macabre case. They quickly believe that one of their colleagues from the same police department is the killer, detective Göran Åhlund (Sauk), a man who has been acting unstable and strange in recent time. Åhlund lives by his own, has no alibi, and is suffering from depression ever since his wife was killed in a car accident where he was the driver. But as we know, Åhlund just happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. The drive of the plot revolves around Åhlund trying to track down the real killer before his colleagues get to him, and his struggle to come to terms with his miserable past.

There is obviously never a secret who the killer is. From the first frame the viewer is informed about the fact that Andreas Persson (Persbrandt) is the wanted man. The film is told from the perspective of the killer who also is the narrator. Mikael Persbrandt, a star actor of Swedish cinema, who has been in a Bergman directed stage play at the Royal Dramatical Theatre, he is at the top of his game here and his role interpretation could be one of the greatest serial killer portrayals ever on film.  

Some viewers might find the film to be disturbing, gory and ultra-misogynistic, and the certificates given by the censorships in various countries are certainly pointing in that direction, but director Börjlind never shows the action violence in the moment it happens; he rather shows the devastating effects of it (presumably given restrictions from the studio system). The disturbance is frequently oriented towards what the viewer knows is happening or what is going to happen. An example is the violation of a teenage girl: The viewer is shown how the girl is kidnapped and taken to a creepy cellar in a deserted building somewhere. How she is humiliated and tied up with chains and ropes. How the killer is setting up his video camera to film the upcoming action, how he produces his huge scissors from a table full of other tools, and how he begins to cut the terrified girl’s blouse. But the director refrains from showing the killing moment, his camera moves away to another scene until the set piece later in the film where the mutilated girl is found.

Legendary Swedish scriptwriter Rolf Börjlind who successfully has written films for both television and cinema during a quarter of a century, is with Deadly Drift directing his first ever feature film. Why this film remains his only one as director to date and why he hasn’t been offered the responsibility to direct any more films? Judge for yourselves. As a frame of reference I could say that Deadly Drift is on par with Luigi Cozzi’s worst gialli.

Amazingly, when looking at the cast, you’ll find the names of some of the most famous actors in Swedish domestic cinema. It’s a mystery why they all wanted to be in this messy film. Some of them are good though even here, in particular Persbrandt (a Golden Beetle nominee) and Bergqvist. Deadly Drift might be a bad film overall but if you are a completist of serial killer movies, and interested in checking out spectacular role interpretations of the central figure in such films, then you should give this one a go.

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