- Netflix Release Date: March 18, 2022
- Director: Adam Berg
- Stars: Noomi Rapace, Aliette Opheim, Dar Salim, Jakob Oftebro
Black Crab Trailer
Black Crab, the feature debut of writer/director Adam Berg, tells the story of a conflict fought not on the streets or in open fields, but on ice skates across a frigid archipelago of islands. On paper, the image of battle-hardened soldiers casually gliding across the surface of frozen lakes appears to be amusing. In practice, it’s also quite amusing, though the unintentional silliness wears off fairly quickly after a while. Black Crab is a serious film with little patience for slapstick antics on screen. Berg begins in what appears to be the present day, with Caroline Edh (Noomi Rapace), a former speed skater, driving her daughter Vanja (Stella Marcimain Klintberg) as far away from the action as she possibly can. Although no “why” is provided, the following “what” is sufficient: The moment they begin to make their way through a crowded road tunnel, masked men in camouflage gear charge down the highway and open fire on fleeing civilians. Caroline has become a seasoned veteran of the post-apocalypse by the time the picture is cut; Vanja is nowhere to be found after an unspecified amount of time has elapsed.
The aesthetic of vagueness is used to the advantage of the Black Crab. Neither Berg nor his screenwriting partners Pelle Rdström and Jerker Virdborg (on whose novel the film is based) make any attempts to define terms, allegiances, or morality in the film. We are unsure of who should be regarded as the good guys and who should be regarded as the bad guys. All we know is that Caroline has been enlisted in the army, that her enlistment has been forced upon her, and that her superiors believe that the war they are fighting is on the verge of being overturned. Their last hope of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat is as follows: To “end the war,” assemble a crack squad of elite soldiers, outfit them with MacGuffin capsules that are guaranteed to turn the tide, and send them skating through hostile territory. Berg does not provide viewers with a clear team to root for in Black Crab, but he does invite us to pledge our allegiance to Caroline as she valiantly attempts to complete the mission and reunite with Vanja.
It’s a simple request. Lamb and the upcoming You Will Not Be Alone are examples of how Rapace has expressed boundless terror and awe in the pursuit of existential questions about what it means to be human in her most recent roles. When she performs toughness in Black Crab, she reminds us with a steely resolve that she is also extremely capable of doing so. Caroline is a badass, but not in the way that action heroes do, slaying foes with the blink of an eye, but in the way that an indomitable soul can overcome any obstacle or inconvenience. Rapace elevates the rest of the experience, which consists primarily of misery and suffering, to a level that makes it bearable. Black Crab is actually more of a survival film than it is a war film, and it reads as such: It’s not a lot of combat, but what we do see is conducted with shocking bursts of brutality, and the biggest threats the characters face tend to come from within their own communities, reinforcing the plot’s political ness further.