The Element of Crime

The Element of Crime

Directed by Lars von Trier • 1984 • Denmark
Starring Michael Elphick, Esmond Knight, Meme Lai

Lars von Trier’s stunning debut feature is a grungily expressionistic hallucination—a trancelike trawl through fractured memories, a murder mystery, and the psychic limbo of cultural displacement. From his exile in Cairo, a former police investigator (Michael Elphick) undergoes hypnosis in order to relive his memories of Europe and his last case, for which he went to dangerous lengths to enter into the mind of and catch a serial killer targeting children. Bathed in a sulfurous yellow glow pierced only by startling flashes of electric blue and red, THE ELEMENT OF CRIME combines hard-boiled noir, dystopian science fiction, and dazzling operatic flourishes to yield a celluloid nightmare of terrifying beauty.

The Element of Crime
  • The Element of Crime

    Directed by Lars von Trier • 1984 • Denmark
    Starring Michael Elphick, Esmond Knight, Meme Lai

    Lars von Trier’s stunning debut feature is a grungily expressionistic hallucination—a trancelike trawl through fractured memories, a murder mystery, and the psychic limbo of cultural displacement. From ...