SLEEPLESS, Baran bo Odar, director/eOne Blu-ray. Those with a taste for kinetic and relentless thrillers need look no further than Sleepless with Jamie Foxx toplining (read no further. If you wish to avoid a spoiler) as an undercover cop who has a single night – the eponymous sleepless one – to bring to justice a ruthless drug lord and save his own kidnapped son. Well cast (with Michelle Monaghan as a fellow cop who does not trust the Fox character), there is no subtlety here, but a variety of well staged action sequences maintain interest – though Foxx takes a totally unfeasible amount of physical punishment. The film is not to be confused with Dario Argento’s thriller of the same name.
DICTE: CRIME REPORTER, Various directors/Acorn Media International The first series of this slice of Nordic Noir was generally well received (though it had nothing like the impact of such groundbreaking shows as The Killing); now Dicte Crime Reporter returns for its second series and following its run on More4, arrives on DVD courtesy of Acorn Media International alongside Dicte Crime Reporter Season One and Two Box Set. While (as mentioned above) the show has none of the innovative qualities of such shows as The Bridge, it is a solid and professional piece of work with a well-developed combative heroine. Divorced crime reporter Dicte Svendsen (Iben Hjejle) has returned with daughter Rose to her hometown of Aarhus where she is trying to escape the past and build a new future. In season two Dicte is contacted by her father who she has been estranged from for many years and a sudden tragic turn of events finds her investigating a prostitution ring, diamond smuggling and a hit-and-run that not only links them but will bring the unknown, the unpredictable and the deadly into the lives of Dicte and police investigator John Wagner. From football hooliganism and match fixing to sado-masochism and murder, missing children and a mother’s lost love, Dicte is a brash, quick-witted reporter, who is not afraid to take risks or put her own life in danger. Even if it means straying to the wrong side of the law or jeopardising every relationship in her life, Dicte will stop at nothing to uncover the truth. The series is drawn from the crime novels of bestselling Danish author Elsebeth Egholm.
VALKYRIEN, Various directors/Acorn/RLJ Entertainment It’s becoming harder and harder to keep up with the flow of new Scandinavian crime series, and the hopes that most of us have for finding another cult series mostly frustrated. Nevertheless, there is much intriguing material out there, as this show — efficiently and professionally made – proves. Forbidden by hospital authorities to continue experimental research to save his terminally ill wife, a leading surgeon sets up an illegal hospital in an abandoned Oslo subway in this Norwegian drama. This eight-part series arrives on DVD as a two-disc set. Doctor Ravn (Sven Nordin) is desperate to find a cure for his dying wife Vilma (Pia Halvorsen). When the hospital stops her treatment, he continues to work in secret and is forced to compromise his ethics and join forces with corrupt civil defence worker and Doomsday prepper, Leif (Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen), who has widespread knowledge of the city’s underground shelters and secret passages, as well as significant connections with the Oslo underworld. Together they build an illegal clinic in an old bomb shelter deep underground Valkyrien Square, Oslo. As Ravn continues his research to save his wife, he must also care for criminals who need to avoid the authorities. Ravn believes he will find a miracle cure, while Leif is convinced that the end of the world is nigh; who will prevail?
VISITING HOURS, Jean Claude Lord , director/Final Cut Looking notably better on Blu-ray than it did on VHS (which is how most of us first saw it). Visiting Hours (in dual-format Blu-ray/DVD) stars Michael Ironside, William Shatner and Lee Grant and Linda Purl. The film is capability directed by Jean Claude Lord. Deborah Ballin is a controversial middle-aged TV journalist, who is campaigning on air on behalf of a battered woman who murdered her abusive husband, claiming justifiable defence against the so-called victim. But her outspoken views championing women’s rights incense one of the studio’s cleaning staff, the psychopathic Michael Ironside character.