What Remains

During the 1990s, at a Scandinavian psychiatric hospital, Mads Lake was convicted after confessing to multiple murders. However, the uneasy triumvirate of Mads, therapist Anna Rudebeck and policeman Soren Rank, all have a vested interest in unearthing the truth, and a deepening co-dependency threatens to consume them all.

  • Released: 2022-10-14
  • Runtime: 127 minutes
  • Genre: Crime, Drama
  • Stars: Stellan Skarsgård, Andrea Riseborough, Gustaf Skarsgård, Éva Magyar, Charlie Petersson, Anna-Leena Sipilä, Darren McStay, Milka Ahlroth, Magnus Krepper, Antti Luusuaniemi
  • Director:
  • indiecinemamagazine - 15 August 2023
    A Tedious and Unimpressive Exploration
    Scandinavian thriller by Ran Huang "What Remains" fails to thrill and falls painfully short of delivering a captivating and engaging narrative. Set in the 1990s and centered around a psychopathic individual who is accused of heinous crimes, portrayed by Gustaf Skarsgård, the film attempts to delve into a realm of psychological intrigue but ultimately leaves the audience feeling uninterested and disconnected.

    One of the most striking shortcomings of the film is its lackluster visual presentation; lack of competent color grading, poor lighting, and the grayscale palette that dominates the film's cinematography contributes to an overall dull and lifeless atmosphere, failing to evoke any sense of immersion or engagement. The absence of intriguing lighting or thoughtful composition further exacerbates the film's visual monotony, making it difficult for viewers to maintain their interest.

    The heart of the film is its reliance on dialogues, primarily between the accused psychopath and the central characters-an approach that unfortunately does not pay off. The constant repetition of conversations featuring the same facial expressions from the accused individual results in a distinct lack of emotional depth or tension. The absence of dramatic shots or any real sense of urgency deprives the film of the very essence that drives an effective thriller.

    Even the presence of the talented actor Stellan Skarsgård, who portrays a police detective, cannot salvage the film from its fundamental flaws. Skarsgård's acting prowess is evident, but the role he is given falls flat. The poorly written character fails to allow Skarsgård to fully utilize his abilities, leaving his talents underutilized and ultimately wasted in a role that does not showcase his true potential.

    The film's underwhelming screenplay was written by Megan Everett-Skarsgard. The plot, revolving around a murder confession and the subsequent quest for the truth, should have provided ample opportunity for suspense and intrigue. However, "What Remains" - is total failure to capitalize on this potential; instead delivering a narrative that is frustratingly slow-paced and lacking in genuine suspense. The absence of any genuine twists or turns results in a predictability that further contributes to the film's overall relentless tedium.

    Additionally, it's regrettable that "What Remains" fails to tap into the unique atmosphere of the Finnish city Turku, where the film is set. Turku's distinctive character and ambiance could have provided a rich backdrop to the story, enriching the overall viewing experience. Instead we are only shown a couple of dull streets and some uninteresting interiors. Unfortunately, the film's inability to capture the true essence of the city further contributes to its draggy nature.

    "What Remains" is a film that disappoints on multiple fronts; its uninspired visual presentation, lack of dynamic storytelling, and one-dimensional character interactions culminate in a viewing experience that is at most generous can be only described as mundane and uninteresting. Even the efforts of accomplished actor Stellan Skarsgård cannot rescue the film from the whirlpool of its own mediocrity. For those seeking a gripping and thought-provoking psychological thriller, "What Remains" is regrettably not the film to deliver that experience.