By Adam Ray Palmer
Kicking off the 2021 edition of the London Film Festival for Cineroom and I is the Icelandic action-comedy Cop Secret distributed by Alief.
Starring Auðunn Blöndal and Egill Einarsson; Cop Secret is written and directed by the former professional footballer Hannes Þór Halldórsson as his feature film debut.
Cop Secret follows main protagonist Bussi (Auðunn Blöndal) who is the coolest cop in Reykjavik, Iceland. He rolls around town beating the bad guys but barely beating his own demons. Bussi suppresses his sexuality because of his own prejudice and struggling to find the right time to come out.
What shouldn’t be a “demon” but a natural moment in life is consistently ruined as he works in a typical, heterosexual police force. As he navigates a huge case that is slowly coming to a head, he must realise who he is and what he wants to be so he can ultimately find happiness as a changed man.
Immediately from the first 10 minutes in Cop Secret, for me it had strong similarities with John Michael McDonagh’s War On Everyone – the unrelenting carnage that could almost in every scene be avoided if it wasn’t for the comic value. This is the light relief that accompanies the more complex plotline of Bussi struggling to be who he is. The narrative tries to achieve a lot in a tidy 90 minutes – a coincidental length for the film from a former footballer?
Halldórsson, writer and director, is one of Iceland's most capped international players, having represented his country 77 times and famously saved a penalty against Lionel Messi in the FIFA 2018 World Cup. When talking about his film, Halldórsson said; "The idea is to make an action-comedy that is not afraid of mimicking Hollywood action clichés, a film that has never been done before in Iceland.” Well, he definitely achieved the truisms.
Whilst there’s very little original screenwriting here, I do like what it is trying to accomplish. Set in the present but lending itself to the buddy-cop genre from the 70s and 80s, Cop Secret is on the edge of the politically incorrect line yet unapologetic in terms of slapstick humour. But to be fair to Halldórsson, this moderately new angle to the action-comedy with the sexual tension and exploration between the two anti-hero coppers is something to at least stick around for and will on.
Cineroom’s rating: 3.5 stars
Cop Secret premiered at the London Film Festival on 6th October – certificate 15