Trapped is about people who are trapped physically, such as the ocean liner that can’t get out of the ice – and is retained by the police even when it can, the oncoming snowstorm that’ll put paid to any traffic leaving town, as well as the residents of the town feeling trapped emotionally for whatever reason which you’ll discover along the way.
Set in a small, remote town, north of Reykjavik City, the drama goes back to 2008 when a fire breaks out in a factory, not long after young lovers Hjörtur (Baltasar Breki Samper) and Dagný (Rán Ísóld Eysteinsdóttir) have broken in and enjoyed a bit of “how’s your father”, but who started the fire? It can’t have been Billy Joel, but this small town is hiding a lot of secrets so maybe it could be? (P.S. It isn’t.)
Fast-forward to the present day (almost. It’s 2015), winter’s setting in and the weather won’t be improving any time soon, so everyone’s having to stay put for the foreseeable. Given that some body parts have also just been found, the occupants of the nearby ferry are suspects and so they’re going nowhere fast even before the ice packs put paid to that. Meanwhile, the bods at the Town Hall are planning to build a new port which is slap bang inbetween China and America, being built with Chinese funding – but it’s like the third Heathrow runway, in that it’ll result in villages having to be disrupted with residents being forced to sell up.
The whole village is a close-knit community, with everything revolving around cop Andri (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) and his family – or what’s left of it as his missus, Agnes (Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir), is moving away with a new man and threatening to take away their daughters; and his cop shop colleagues are feisty Hinrika (Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir) and Ásgeir (Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson), the latter who’s been around the block a time or two and just wants the quiet life. Alas, given that it’s likely the killer is also somewhere within the community, he won’t get that for a while.
There’s also one of two characters who are soon identified as baddies and then when they subsequently appear, I feel the programme needs a ‘booing and hissing’ track to accompany their screen time 😉
And for a couple of others, town hall official Friðrik (Magnús Ragnarsson) reminds me of Paul Nuttall from UKIP, while moustached cop Trausti (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson) is the spitting image of Ned Flanders from The Simpsons!
Trapped is a bit like Fortitude in that it’s a small Scandanavian town where excessively bad stuff is going down. However, there’s a minor infringement in episode 2, when I saw Andri driving off without clearing the snow from his front number plate. That’s a fail under the Highway Code and, as a cop, he should be aware of that! Still, it’s small beer compared to most of the goings-on there.
And how come the police staff seemingly work 24/7? They get no time off and there’s only three of them at the station! They’re on the job more hours in a day than Jack Bauer!
Alas, overall, from the start until the end, it’s such a slow-moving drama. The story it told in ten episodes could easily have been cut down to, say, six. I’m all for Nordic Noir taking time to build and I don’t expect everything brought up front, but I can tell when something needs tightening up and this fell into that category. Like British TV drama, not every series can be a gem.
Presented in the original 16:9 ratio – although the opening scene is bizarrely in an approx 2.20:1 widescreen ratio, the picture perfectly captures the dark and forboding oncoming winter. It’s no surprise that this was one of the harshest winters the area suffered in recent times, but even still, they had the snow-blowers on to make it worse! And since it was created and partially-directed by Baltasar Kormákur, who made last year’s Everest, again it shows he can deliver the goods visually but the story was lacking at times there, too. However, like Fortitude, even when the content leaves you short-changed, the visuals make it more than worth the trip, here taking in some incredible Icelandic mountainscapes.
The sound is in DTS 5.1, but mostly, the split-surround effects are restricted to blustery snow and so on, plus moody background music.
There’s just one extra to this package, although that’s one more than most TV series released on Blu-ray and DVD. It’s a Making Of (23:26) and shows mostly crew members talking to camera, plus the main three cop actors and Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir (Agnes) and Þorstein Bachmann (Sigurður Guðmundsson) giving their thoughts. Also, we learn from that the series cost 1.1billion Icelandic Krona (yes, billion) – approx £6.2m – to make, and given that it’s sold well around the world including on BBC4 in the UK as well as being shown on TV in America, a second series can’t be far off. However, it took three years to get this one together so don’t hold your breath.
Subtitles are in English, but as is all too often the case, given that this is a drama occasionally switching back to English dialogue (sometimes in the same scene), I find it annoying that the English is not subtitled, especially in this case because the actors’ delivery isn’t always easy to pick it up. Chapters are thin on the ground with just 6 per episode, and the menu features the same image as the packshot, albeit with snow blowing about, and a short, repetitive section of incidental music.
Running time: 10 * 52 minutes
Released: April 11th 2016
Cat no: FCD1298
Chapters: 7 per episode
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1
Languages: Icelandic, English
Disc Format: 3*BD50
Directors: Óskar Thór Axelsson, Baldvin Zophoníasson, Baltasar Kormákur and Börkur Sigþórsson
Producers: Magnús Viðar Sigurðsson and Sindri Páll Kjartansson
Creator: Baltasar Kormákur
Series writing credits: Clive Bradley, Ólafur Egilsson, Jóhann Ævar Grímsson, Sigurjón Kjartansson, Baltasar Kormákur, Sonia Moyersoen and Klaus Zimmermann
Music: Hildur Guðnadóttir, Rutger Hoedemaekers and Jóhann Jóhannsson
Andri Ólafsson: Ólafur Darri Ólafsson
Hinrika Kristjánsdóttir: Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir
Ásgeir Þórarinsson: Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson
Agnes: Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir
Hjörtur Stefánsson: Baltasar Breki Samper
Søren Carlsen: Bjarne Henriksen
Sigurður Guðmundsson: Þorstein Bachmann
Hrafn Eysteinsson: Pálmi Gestsson
Eirikur: Þorsteinn Gunnarsson
Þórhildur eldri: Hanna María Karlsdóttir
Aldís Eiríksdóttir: Steinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir
Kolbrún: Sigrún Edda Björnsdóttir
Leifur: Jóhann Sigurðarson
Friðrik: Magnús Ragnarsson
Guðni: Kristján Franklin Magnúss
Trausti Einarsson: Björn Hlynur Haraldsson
Hjálmar: Eysteinn Sigurðarson
María: Lilja Nótt Þórarinsdóttir
Dvalinn Knudsson: Hans Tórgarð
Sigvaldi: Rúnar Freyr Gíslason
Rögnvaldur: Sigurður Skúlason
Bárður: Guðjón Pedersen
Jonas Malakauskas: Vytautas Narbutas
Laufey: Katla M Þorgeirsdóttir
Jóhanna: Jasmín Dúfa Pitt
Þórhildur yngri: Elva María Birgisdóttir
Björn Weissmann: Steve Lorenz
Perla: Júlia Guðrún Lovisa Henje
Maggi: Jón Pétursson
Dagný Eiriksdóttir: Rán Ísóld Eysteinsdóttir
Guðmundur: Sigurður Karlsson
Joy: Grace Achieng
Ayanike: Georg Leite de Oliveira Santos
Alexander: Trygve Jonas Eliassen
Ævar: Arnar Jónsson
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.