fri 19/10/2018

Occupied, series 2, Sky Atlantic review - political conflicts looking all too actual | reviews, news & interviews

Occupied, series 2, Sky Atlantic review - political conflicts looking all too actual

Occupied, series 2, Sky Atlantic review - political conflicts looking all too actual

Jo Nesbo’s neo-Cold War drama of Russia vs the rest - aka truth vs lies - resumes

Lusty lovers but political rivals? Jesper Berg (Henrik Mestad) and Anita Rygh (Janne Heltberg)

Eight months have passed since the Russians invaded Norway in the first season of Jo Nesbo’s neo-Cold War thriller. Real-life events have only made Occupied seem more relevant. Like Conrad’s novel Under Western Eyes, it dramatises the clash between two world views: lily-livered liberalism versus ruthless realpolitik or, if you prefer, truth and lies. No wonder, on viewing it in Moscow, the Kremlin saw red.

The theory is embodied with sweaty physicality. Season two opens with Jesper Berg (Henrik Mestad) and Anita Rygh (Janne Heltberg) bonking with typical Scandinavian abandon. (This naked gambit has already become a cliché: for example, the Spanish thriller Lifeline on Walter Presents opens with a buff young man streaking down the middle of a road; remember that lovely Visa running-man ad?). Berg, the former Norwegian prime minister, is in self-imposed exile in Stockholm. However, Rygh, the perfectly named spin-doctor, ends up screwing Berg by becoming head of the proxy government in Oslo – thus setting the scene for an unholy battle between self-interested MPs, nationalist soldiers, venal collaborationists, quislings and, of course, craven Eurocrats.

The action sequences - a CGI explosion; Berg fleeing arrest - are less impressive than the ideological face-offs

Little is made of the discovery that threatened to render fossil fuels obsolete, the reason the Russian bear lumbered into the socialist paradise in the first place. Berg, communicating with his supporters via D-Day, an online computer game, instigates a raid on a gas terminal where a shipping container is found to contain cruise missiles – banned under the flimsy peace treaty signed with the invaders.

The Kremlin’s representative in Oslo is ice queen Irina Sidorova (Ingeborga Dapkunaite, Mother Lecter in Hannibal Rising). Her ability to tell barefaced lies with a straight (beautiful) face is both hilarious and terrifying. She is Russian doublethink incarnate: “We have a right to defend our interests against terrorism.” Are the occupiers freedom-fighters or fascist fanatics? Perhaps the good folk of Salisbury can decide.

The action sequences – a CGI explosion; Berg fleeing arrest – are less impressive than the ideological face-offs. Hans Martin Djupvik (Eldar Skar), the studly bodyguard who rose to become head of the Norwegian security service in the first series, doesn’t have much to do except dodge brickbats here, but this changes as Hilde (Selome Emnetu), his refugee wife, becomes a legal adviser to the puppet politicos in the second episode. And let’s not forget poor Mathias Calmeyer who plays a character called Bent Hole…

Ultimately the conflict is between those who are willing to fight for their country and those who won’t. Thanks to Tony Blair’s lies, today’s millennials are squeamish about bloodshed – but not every battle can be fought in cyberspace. Occupied suggests that sooner or later, Putin’s myrmidons are going to force all of us to bite the bullet and go to war. Still, if they don’t, the snowflakes should feel right at home in Moscow.

Little is made of the discovery that threatened to render fossil fuels obsolete, the reason the Russian bear lumbered into the socialist paradise in the first place

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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