Blinded: Those Who Kill ~ Spoiler Review

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Photo montage of scenes from Blinded: Those Who Kill. Central image is cropped from the theatrical poster for the show.

🇩🇰 BLINDED: THOSE WHO KILL 🇩🇰

BLINDED: THOSE WHO KILL (S2 of Darkness: Those Who Kill) aka Den som dræber — Fanget af mørket. 8 x 45min approx episodes. Danish with subtitles. BBC Iplayer U.K.

Premise:

“Having agreed to help her family friend solve the cold case of her son’s murder, criminal profiler Louise (Natalie Madueño) continues to piece together a string of new killings that appear consistent with the son’s death – prompting the hunt for a serial killer. Running out of leads, the police now appeal to the public for any information on the killer, while Louise’s boyfriend makes a tense visit.” (The Guardian)

Cast:

Natalie Madueño as Louise Bergstein
Tobias Santelmann as Peter Vinge
Helle Fagralid as Karina Hørup
Solbjørg Højfeldt as Alice Ejbye
Kasper Leisner as Torben Vissinge
Jens Andersen as Søren Dedenroth
Louis Næss-Schmidt as Johannes Vinge
Josephine Park as Masja Zelinsky
Rosalinde Mynster as Illona Larsen
Oscar Dyekjær Giese as William Fjeldby
Johannes Lassen as David

The English- language theatrical poster for Blinded: Those Who Kill

Crew:

Director: Jonas Alexander Arnby & Göran Kapetanovic
Writers: Ina Bruhn & Per Daumiller
Cinematographer: Rasmus Arrildt & Kasper Wind Nielsen
Composer: Mikkel Hess
Make-Up: Helena Hørdum Kirkedal, Soile Ludjoi, Maria Kai Nielsen & Josefin Ranch

Notes:

This is actually the second season of the show Darkness: Those Who Kill just renamed separately for some markets. Darkness: Those Who Kill is a spin-off from Those Who Kill (2011) which was cancelled after one series.

This season of the show has a complete cast change aside from Natalie Madueño as Louise Bernstein.

Danish-language theatrical poster for Blinded: Those Who Kill

⚠️ This review contains spoilers ⚠️

Review:

Having watched, very much enjoyed and reviewed the first series of Darkness: Those Who Kill I was keen to see the next story in Blinded: Those Who Kill. I also freely admit that finding out that Norwegian actor Tobias Santelmann has a leading role was a major draw for me!

Would this story be as dark and disturbing as the first? Would we find out more about Louise? Would this be, as with the first series, a “how do we catch them” not a “whodunnit”? Would we again get the backstory of the perpetrator/s to flesh out their motivations? How much like or dissimilar to the first series would this one be? And why “Blinded”?

Natalie Madueño as Louise Bergstein in Blinded: Those Who Kill

Well, it is quite clear from the very first scenes that Blindness: Those Who Kill is likely to shape up to be just as noir, as disturbing and shocking as the first series. Once again we see the perpetrator very early on but of course, we wonder whether there is going to be more than one person involved. There is a time shift forwards quickly in the storyline (just something to be aware of).

I really liked the way that we found out more of Louise’s backstory in this series. Before she felt rather cypher-like but by the conclusion of this I felt that I knew and understood her far better. Her relationship with Alice was interesting, a great vehicle for finding out more about her AND fuelled the story with far greater personal impact. We also see how Louise, her issues and work wreak havoc on her relationship with her boyfriend.

Some may query (as does Louise herself) how she cannot “see” how an individual fits a profile but the way this is handled is completely believable. Once feelings are involved everything becomes much more complicated. And here folks is your “Blinded”.

Peter Vinge… Well, what an interesting and conflicted character to watch develop! One of the aspects of this second series is that the antagonist is full of apparent contradictions. He is or at least tries to be, a good father to his son Johannes. We can sympathise with him (and poor Johannes) being abandoned by his wife, with a child, in a foreign country while she is off to Singapore. We can see that something is just subtly “off” with him as he interacts with others but actually, shockingly perhaps, he isn’t a bad person (aside from, you know, the serial killing part). Having a character who is not a 2-D “murderer” but one with positives in his character is a major plus point.

I did have some issues regarding the character of Peter’s wife. Her leaving (what IS it about many of these mothers in stories?) works well for the plot and motivations but her “ending” was a little saccharine for my tastes (was this a Road to Damascus moment for her? Hopefully for young Johannes that would be the case. Again she is a contradictory character. That she doesn’t even know what toys etc. her son already has and throws expensive presents his way (ones his father cannot afford or is trying to use to teach his son the value of money) presumably to assuage her guilt is not endearing (although to be fair all too common in real life).

Blinded: Those Who Kill works really well in that we see what the detectives and Louise do not (as with season 1) but we too have no idea why he carries out these terrible, appalling acts of cruelty until it becomes less obscure later in the story. We do realise that control and being in control is important to the killer.

Holding back on clearly being told a big backstory for Peter is quite unusual and certainly a radical departure from season 1. We do get bits and pieces drip-fed but always tainted by “unreliable narrator” (Peter). Does this work? I think overall it does, mostly because the motivation is the reason (in part) for the hideous crimes but also that it is not an excuse.

Now let me say that I ADORED the near-final scene between Peter and Louise! No bells, no whistles, simply a two-way dialogue between the two of them. This is where we see Louise maintain control (whilst reeling having realising what a hideous error of judgment she has made). Whereas Peter, the one who desires, nay NEEDS to control everything the most falls to pieces bit by bit.

The way this is written and then played by Natalie Madueño and Tobias Santelmann is fantastic! You can feel the power of this dangerous man initially but this disintegrates as Louise tells him the truth. The micro-expressions, the emotions shown here are amazing. To the extent that we can have a degree of sympathy with him as it is almost as if he needs to have her tell him the truth so he can understand his own self and why he does these terrible acts of violence. Both this and the final “end” of Peter had me in tears.

The performances of the whole cast are really good in this and major applause for young Louis Næss-Schmidt who was, I think, truly outstanding as Johannes!

I loved the cinematography of Blinded: Those Who Kill which helps create an atmosphere so disturbing, frightening, anxiety-inducing and often beautiful. I would advise watching with as little ambient light as possible as many scenes are at night or low-level lighting (this is Scandi noir after all). The music score is spine-tingling and sets the perfect tone throughout, never invasive or overpowering, “just” enhancing the visuals.

Plot-wise there are a few places in Blinded: Those Who Kill where you may find you need to suspend disbelief (I won’t say where because then you’ll just notice them!) The “coincidences” are managed well (even with a deus ex machina handy address find) so they don’t clunk too badly. The connection between Peter and Louise is gradually developed and feels natural (just a teeny bit “awkward” as the audience!) I should also mention that parts are really exciting too, it’s not all doom and gloom and murder-y.

As with Darkness (series 1), a major theme is of parents and the lasting, often fatal effects of a lack of love, abandonment, abuse (of all kinds) and rejection. Yes, Peter is guilty as charged but his father also bears some of the responsibility for what his son evolved into. Abandonment and rejection (his wife leaving him) are his stressors, this harkens back to his childhood/teens and this is what starts the murders again. Not simply labelling a murderer as “evil” is a major plus point for me watching any series.

Can I recommend Blindness: Those Who? Absolutely yes but not if you are likely to be kept awake at night because this is very disturbing, dark and graphically violent in places.

Trailer BBC:

Trailer Acorn:

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