🇩🇰 🇫🇴TROM 🇫🇴 🇩🇰
Trom (2021-) is a Danish-Faroese crime/drama/thriller TV series set on the Faroe Islands. 6 x 39-43 minute episodes. Available on BBC iPlayer U.K. and SBS On Demand Australia. Guidance: moderate violence.
“After a missing animal rights activist is found amid a local whale hunt, journalist Hannis Martinsson risks his own skin on the trail of a spectacular story, sending shock waves through the isolated island community of the Faroes.” IMDb
Ulrich Thomsen as Hannis Martinsson
Maria Rich as Karla Mohr
Olaf Johannessen as Ragnar í Rong
Mariann Hansen as Anita Ravn
Gunnvá Zachariasen as Aurora á Heyggi
Sissal Drew’s Hjaltalin as Jenny Mikkelsen
Búi Dam as Mikkjal Mohr
Magnus Reinert Gásadal as Gunnar Mohr
Michael Worthman as Stewart Peters
Hjálmar Dam as Gísli Bjarnason
Durita Dahl Andreassen as Durita Thomsen
Torkil Tórgarð as Bergur Magnussen
Hans Tórgarð as Haraldur Martinsson
Writers: Jógvan Isaksen (novels), Torfinnur Jákupsson
Created: Torfinnur Jákupsson
Directors: Peter Ahlén, Kasper Barfoed, Davíd Óskar Ólafsson
Composer: Ólavur Jákupsson
Cinematographer: Ásgrímur Guðbjartsson, Thomas Wildner
Editor: Valdosta Óskarsdóttir, Guðlaugur Andri Eyþórsson, Andri Steinb Guðjónsson
Filmed on the Faroe Islands
“Trom” means a cliff edge in Faroese
About the Faroe Islands:
⚠️ This review contains some spoilers ⚠️
I was keenly anticipating the arrival of Trom for some time, not least because I have been a big fan of the lead actor, Ulrich Thomsen, since the heady days of Banshee. As luck (of the bad variety) would have it I managed to get Covid around the same time as Trom arrived on BBC iPlayer. So, and this is the reason I am telling you this, I have watched Trom twice (thankfully it is only 6 not very long episodes). Why? Well, I considered that watching with the “plague” might not be completely fair (or frankly lucid) in my feelings and responses to the show. As a result, Trom has had a second crack of the whip. Did my views of this series change appreciably between watches? Not really…
Let me start with the positives and the things I liked about Trom:
The setting in the Faroes is visually very appealing and the mists are atmospheric and symbolic. Carrying these visuals over into the colour palette of blues, greys, greens etc. is very effective (I particularly liked the hint of light pink picked up from an external wall colour). The costuming added to this fairly restricted and naturalistic range of tones and the very Scandinavian knitwear of course.
Another aspect of production I thought was effective was the sound design. There are a few scenes where sound becomes muffled and distorted and the clips of Sonja’s voice in the recording work well too.
The cinematography is a very strong part of Trom and I appreciated the directorial decisions. They made good use of the natural and man-made surroundings. I do love a good aerial tracking shot.
The opening credits for this are, I think, very atmospheric, appealing and set the context well (that includes the music).
The acting itself in Trom varies from very good to perfectly adequate. I thought Ragnar’s character was well played in an understated but dangerous way. Creepy and psychopathic done well. The scene in his office with the young lady where he is behind her throughout was excellent. I first found the thump he gave Hannis somewhat out of kilter with his character and MO of getting others to do dirty work but then I remembered Hannis’s brother’s words about him being willing to get his hands dirty.
Now to come to the parts of Trom I had more issues with. This story is not very complex, despite red herrings and shenanigans. Essentially I think it is supposed to be a character-driven drama and this here is the rub. I found most of the characters to be underdeveloped (perhaps because of the amount of time given to the story) and because of this I did not feel invested in any of them. Ironically, perhaps, it was Bergur who I felt most sorry for and I am pretty sure that was not the intention. Characters felt too one-note for me.
Taking Hannis as the most important (being the protagonist and all) I would have liked to see more of his feelings and motivations. His reaction towards finding out about his daughter (and the fact that this was effectively hidden from him for years) just felt too understated. This is part of the story that is not generic and had great potential to set it apart from the norm. I have just watched another drama (not Nordic) where exactly this revelation is made to a man years later and the contrast is marked very strongly in my mind as a result. It almost came over as a “Whatever” in Trom. His reaction to his long-lost daughter’s death was great but everything motivation-wise seemed to lose momentum after that.
I did like the character of the pregnant cop and I think a bit more humour injected into proceedings (we get a tiny bit from one of her colleagues) would not have gone amiss and would have added more texture to the characters and tale. A bit more to distinguish the two young men who are involved in the death would have helped.
I found the actions of the main cop understandable but also contradictory (if you are trying to muddy waters and protect your son why be so concerned about being buried under phone tip-offs?)
I would have liked even more Faroes-specific references. The Faroese vest fitting was interesting as were the references to whaling and fishing. It is just that these were so “light-touch” for the most part that they lacked real impact on me. Again, as with the daughter aspect this is something to potentially truly set the series apart from the crowd.
The environmental protestors were an interesting angle and the counterarguments but they did come over as “written” as did the brothers mini tirade.
There is a bit of an oddity with the subtitles in this, such as the Lord’s Prayer not being translated at all. Were they assuming everyone will just magically recognise it when recited in Faroese? Swearing… it is noticeable that English swear words are skipped over in the translation. Again, was it thought that English-speaking viewers would just “hear” these in the midst of all that Faroese or just that they chose to not translate the F-word?
Forensic details… gosh I have this massive issue with fresh water versus salt water in the lungs of a drowning victim not being picked up at all by any of the police but by a civilian (and then only through the contents of said freshwater…) and then far down the storyline —unbelievable. As for the trail of evidence aspects… I will not even go there. Oh, alright then I will, you cannot just place a piece of evidence in a bag, scribble a number etc. on it and pop it in an evidence box! And why even bother by that stage?
The time has come to summarise my reaction to Trom. In a word “disappointing”. I was left wanting more but not the sort of more that means you are desperate to watch more of it to find out what happens next. There is clearly a season 2 coming (confirmed) and there is a cliffhanger but do I care enough about the characters remains a big question…
Monte-Carlo TV Festival Golden Nymph Winner (2022) ~ Jury Special Prize; Best Actor ~ Ulrich Thomsen
Trailer (no English subtitles):
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