“A time for weapons, a time for wolves, a time without mercy. Brother slaying brother, parents slaying their children. The sun is devoured and a harsh winter follows . . .”
Black Crab is a Swedish action thriller, based on the book by Jerker Virdborg, and released by streaming titan Netflix. The land has fallen victim to the plague of war. The Swedish government is no more. Years after losing her daughter Vanja, Caroline Edh (Noomi Rapace) is recruited alongside other former soldiers by what’s left of the country’s military to participate in a top-secret mission.
Like “a crab in the dark,” the team is tasked with transporting cargo across the Swedish archipelago – a sea of which is now completely covered in ice – and disposing of it behind enemy lines. The mission is time-sensitive, as the enemy is advancing towards the last of their military base and will arrive in a few short days. If the team is successful, the war will be won. The apocalypse will end. If not, everything will be lost. Caroline knows it’s a suicide mission, and only when the colonel in charge uses the whereabouts of her missing daughter as bait, does she decide to go. The only catch – besides the chances of survival being extremely slim? They’re not allowed to open the cargo.
The Black Crab team sets out in the dead of night amidst a raid of bombs and fire, loaded down with weapons and courage. Doomsday is behind them, and the thinnest shard of hope is ahead. But darkness and danger await them on the ice. No one is safe.
We’re dumped right in the middle of the action the moment the screen fades from black. In the beginning, the audience is forced to watch as things play out. All we know for certain is that Caroline is a hardened woman and that her homeland is beautiful, cold, and desolated from battles against an unknown enemy.
Caroline is a quiet rebel; despite her hesitancy, she’s strong in her combat abilities and her resolve. Noomi Rapace is a fierce lead but unfortunately, that’s where it all ends. Her co-stars’ portrayal is adequate but there’s an obvious lack of chemistry between them all. The only thing that truly connects them within the self-contained world of the film is their characters’ mistrust of each other. Rapace is a capable actress, so it’s a shame that she was fit into a role that feels a bit one dimensional.
“The ice is our only chance.” Every scene is filtered through a blue-grey lens, mimicking the great frozen expanse and the cold seriousness of the current circumstances. Cinematographer Jonas Alarik definitely deserves a shout out, however, as his work is simply beautiful. The extremely wide shots convey the physical distance the team must travel which, coupled with the overall chilly mood leaves viewers shaking with anticipation from time to time. It’s not edge-of-your-seat enthralling, but it is decently exciting.
Nevertheless, Black Crab contains all the elements needed for a dystopian film. Director Adam Berg’s work does grow on you as more events unfold, as does the storyline itself. It’s nice to see an apocalyptic film back in the lineup of new releases, especially one that offers a bit of a twist too; the genre has fizzled a bit in popularity as of late (unless it’s virus related, that is).
So, the only question that remains is: would you cross the ice?
Black Crab is available to stream on Netflix
by Kacy Hogg
Kacy is an English Lit student living in the Great White North (no not Winterfell unfortunately), Canada. Her favourite films include the Harry Potter series, Cinderella, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Hangover, and Lady Bird. She’s also an avid binge-watcher of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. You can follow her on Twitter here: @KacHogg95