The Absent One (Fasandraeberne) (2014)

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Released 4-May-2016

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 114:53
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Mikkel Nørgaard

Madman Entertainment
Starring Nikolaj Lie Kaas
Fares Fares
Joanne Louise Schmidt

Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Danish Dolby Digital 5.1
Danish Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     I have become quite a fan of Scandinavian police and crime thrillers over the past few years, probably starting with the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series of books and movies. There are many films and TV series to investigate in this space such as the excellent Bron/Broen which has spawned two remakes and things like Borgen and more. There is a distinct style which these shows tend to have with a slightly cranky or withdrawn hero and a generally grim and glum atmosphere. This film, The Absent One (Fasandraeberne) was released theatrically in Denmark, becoming the highest grossing Danish film ever in Denmark, and is the second film based on a series of best selling novels, the Department Q series by Jussi Adler-Olsen. The first, Keeper of Lost Causes I reviewed on its local release here.

     The main character is Carl Morck (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), a homicide detective in Denmark, who is mostly disliked by his colleagues and superiors due to his grumpy and individualistic approach. In the first film after a bungled raid he is transferred to run a new Department called Department Q, which will be responsible for sorting through and closing out the paperwork on old cases which have not been finalised. He is clearly told that he will not be investigating the cases just completing the paperwork. He is assigned an assistant, Assad (Fares Fares) who is keen and pleased to be assigned to a new department. After a difficult start they have started to create a decent relationship in this second movie. This film also adds a third member of the team, a new secretary called Rose (Joanne Louise Schmidt). In this movie, Carl is accosted by an old man as he leaves a team function, demanding to know what he is doing about the "Thomas and Marie" case. Carl tells the man to go away and that he will get to the case when time allows. The next morning the old man is found dead in a bath, obviously having committed suicide. It turns out he is an ex-policeman whose children were killed in their teens, 20 years ago, and their attackers have never been caught. Carl and Assad start to investigate and find links to successful businessmen, big game hunting, people living on the streets and a very well-known private school attended by only the best families in Denmark.

     Despite a relatively straight forward story, this is a dramatic thriller which is very involving for its audience and it is easy to see why this was successful in its native Denmark. It is a dark and violent story, similar in tone to the first film with occasional humour to break the ice. Regardless, the cast do a great job and the tight direction leads to a thrilling and enthralling experience. It is well paced and keeps its audience involved throughout the nearly 2 hour running time.


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Transfer Quality


     The video quality reminds me very much of a quality television production such as Bron/Broen with a limited colour palette, naturalistic lighting and good sharpness and detail. It does not create a great 'Wow' impact from a home theatre perspective, however this is probably an unfair expectation. Technically, it is 2.35:1 (which obviously goes against the TV show feel) and 16x9 enhanced. The DVD transfer is nicely sharp and detailed. Shadow detail is average probably driven by the natural lighting scheme more than the transfer. There was some motion blur here and there but no other obvious artefacts.

     There are English subtitles available which are clear and easy to read.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The audio is also very good. There are two audio options, Danish Dolby Digital 5.1 and a 2.0 alternative. I listened to the 5.1 track. There is lots of nice surround atmosphere and specific directional effects which definitely enhance the viewing experience. Dialogue is generally clear but my Danish is not great. A better than average DVD soundtrack which does a good job with the material.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    One minor extra.


    The menu features music.

Theatrical Trailer (1:36)

    Danish Trailer for the film which gives away virtually every plot point. Do not watch before seeing the film.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This film is available in the UK in the same format and there is also a Blu-ray release which seems to include English subtitles (although there are reports of subtitle problems). If you are keen for a Blu-ray this seems to be the only current option, however, the local DVD does the job admirably.


    A tense and gripping Scandinavian thriller.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are limited to a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, July 22, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMR-PWT500, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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