Red Dot is the first Swedish film to be picked up by Netflix. However, unlike the Netflix originals to debut in other countries, Red Dot is rather lukewarm and uninteresting.
Red Dot follows a newly married young couple; a doctor to be, Nadja (Nanna Blondell) and an engineer, David Daftander (Anastasios Soulis) just as they get married.
18 months later, David is swamped at work, at his dream job, and as a result, neglects Nadja who is having a hard time managing her studies and being a wife. Nadja discovers that she is pregnant but does not tell David, fearing that she will end up becoming a housewife when the child is born.
Meanwhile, David tries to rekindle their marriage by planning a spontaneous ski trip to northern Sweden. They plan to trek all day and then camp under the scenic northern lights. But their trip becomes a nightmare when in the middle of the night, they start being chased by some unknown shooters.
To survive they have to brave the ravaging winters of Sweden while being hunted.
The performances by the couple are quite ordinary. Nanna Blondell plays Nadja, the vindictive doctor-to-be. She takes charge in life for what she wants and faces her problems head-on.
Anastasios Soulis’ David on the other hand is not nearly as assertive. Soulis is decent as David. He has some chemistry with Blondell that makes their relationship believable enough for the audience to root for them. The problem is that the script doesn’t give them a lot to work with, and their performances themselves lack creativity.
The shooters, however, give the best performance in the film. They are absolutely raw, riveting and powerful. They are terrific villains as they expertly walk the thin line where their actions are understandable but not justifiable.
The film does not have many characters in it but they all give sufficiently adequate performances.
Red Dot makes use of its breathtakingly beautiful setting. The Snowy white terrain of northern Sweden looks terrifying yet awe-inspiring all at once.
Writer-Director, Alain Darborg, has managed to create some genuine moments of tension in this film. The third act is especially tense, with a strong sense of direction. The story takes a different turn which leads to a spectacular finale which is quite different from what was initially set up.
The subtle sombre score by Carl Johan Sevedag fits the tone and is one of the better parts of the film.
The story of Red Dot is its weakest aspect. It seems like an endlessly recycled amalgamation of several such survival and psychopathic killer films in Hollywood. The film is full of tropes and cliches due to which, it is very predictable.
There are a few aspects which cannot be predicted. However, this is due to even worse writing as these pivot points in the story have not been set up at all.
The story itself is full of plot holes and logical inconsistencies. Some aspects of the story are very convenient for the protagonists. The red herrings do not hold up to the slightest scrutiny and would be obvious from the get-go to audiences well versed in thriller films.
Darborg’s direction for the film is confused. Red Dot’s primary story has strong themes but unfortunately, they have been used as punches in the second half of the film. The story structure itself is a cheap gimmick that lacks vision. As a result, the film is not as poignant and self-reflective as it wanted to be.
The cinematography of the film by Benjam Orre relies too heavily on the use of handheld which makes some scenes hard to follow.
Red Dot is a rather forgettable thriller. Nothing is unique to the film. The story, characters, motivation, events, everything has been seen hundreds of times on screen.
It is barely a one time watch, primarily made interesting due to its antagonists, who unfortunately have little screen time. This one can be skipped.
Also Read : Malcolm & Marie review: A drawn-out, well-acted relationship fight