THE OUT-LAWS, various directors/Arrow Those of us addicted to Scandinavian crime drama are always hungry for the latest manifestation of the genre. This one is something distinctly different, a black comedy, which is unlike most of the other entries in the genre. “The Out-Laws” are four sisters who had enough of their brother-in-law tormenting them and decide to kill their fifth sister’s obnoxious husband Jean Claude. Eva, Birgit, Veerle and Bekka develop elaborate plans to rid themselves of their spiteful brother-in-law, who seems to have as many lives as a cat. Whether or not you like this show will depend on how you respond to the loathsome husband, who is presented as such an unpleasant grotesque that there is only one possible reaction to him. Nuance is one of the characteristics of Nordic Noir, and, frankly, there is not much of that here.
POISON PEN, Paul L. Stein director/Network Starring Oscar-nominated Flora Robson and a typically eye-rolling Robert Newton, this is an unusual excavation from Network. Those who remember Clouzot’s film Le Corbeau and Otto Preminger’s American remake The Thirteenth Letter will know what to expect from this thoroughly involving tale of a poison pen letter writer who destroys lives in a small village and whose activities lead to violent death. While the piece is dated in its attitudes, it remains fascinating as a snapshot of British cinema at a particular time. If there is a fault, it’s the fact that even the slowest member of the audience will be well aware of who the writer of the poison pen letters is very quickly – as soon, in fact, as all the major characters have been introduced. Nevertheless, it remains very watchable.