Varg Veum - Bitre blomster (2007) Poster

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Beautiful scenery, nice music and good acting by Trond Espen Seim
nilshenry28 October 2007
This is the first in what is planned to be a series of adaptations of Gunnar Staalesen's novels about the private detective, Varg Veum, and I must say that I was very pleased with the result.

The plot goes like this: The daughter of a female politician disappears at the same time as the politician's lover also goes underground, and she hires Varg Veum to try to find them. When Varg Veum starts tracking down the various clues, they all point towards the industrial plant the lover works at.

Even though the story in the book takes place in the early 1990s, the adaptation has moved the story to present-day. What pleased me most with the movie, was the beautiful scenery of Bergen together with a very nice musical score. The opening scene first shows Bergen viewed from mount Fløyen, and afterwards we get to see the main bus terminal and Bryggen. People from Bergen watching this movie will be especially pleased with this.

Trond Espen Seim fit the role as Varg Veum perfectly. Some people have criticized the choice of Seim in the lead role because he doesn't speak the Bergen dialect. I was also initially skeptical to this choice, but after seeing the film, I now understand how well he fits into this role. Bjørn Floberg was also great in the role as the chief inspector, and the scenes with him and Trond Espen Seim were great, especially the scene where they meet on the roof of the main bus terminal in the rain. This can't be considered as anything less than a classic scene that must be remembered in Norwegian movie history.

What I didn't like with this film, were most of the scenes with the bad guys. First of all, it was too obvious that they were bad guys. The way they were dressed up and the choice of music for these scenes made it look more like a parody than an actual murder mystery. These scenes were way overdone and destroyed much of the suspense that was built up beforehand.

But all in all, this was a beautiful movie and a beautiful portrayal of Bergen.
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Its 100% okay
helolaole15 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is just all around just okay . The movie doesn't have much depth and it takes itself way too seriously from time to time.

But the acting is quite good, story a little convoluted, but alright, and the mystery itself is basic but interesting, even though the conclusion isn't really satisfying.

Most of the side characters are flat and uninteresting, but the main character (Varg Veum) feels realistic and his character interesting, and the dialogue also feels natural.

All in all, if you want to watch an alright crime mystery movie, then you should give it a watch.
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The backdrop was nice...
punishmentpark4 June 2013
Scandinavian crime films are usually pretty okay. This one wasn't. The main character irritated me with his attitude as if he owned the half of Norway, his supposed omnniscience, stride and what not. The story was very simple and the way it 'evolved' was just too easy. The bad guys are given away pretty early on and they hardly contribute to any suspense or depth. It is all just very flat and uninteresting.

The only big plus is Norway itself and its settings, which are always good - or so it turns out - for a nice, grim atmosphere. And that's about all I could make of it, my rating might even be a little too high, all things considered. If this just part one the Varg Veum series, I best leave the rest of it alone, methinks...
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One of the best Norwegian crime series ever!
lizardjims21 April 2019
Varg Veum is the hero of the titular novels written by the godfather of Scandinavian crime fiction, Gunnar Staalesen, and he is one of the most well fleshed out characters in the genre. The name translates in English as ''wolf in a holy place'' and is the best description for Staalesen's protagonist who is a private investigator with a strong moral compass and decent, though not extraordinary, detective skills that help him to solve the various cases he takes. His past experience as a social worker, mainly dealing with delinquent children, make him more sensitive and intuitive and also helps the audience to empathize with him.

The television adaptations are wonderful and Trond Esper Seim proves to be the best choice for the role of Varg. His performance is measured and esoteric and it succeeds in the difficult task of embodying a demanding fictitious character who has become a legend in his hometown of Bergen. All the stories, twelve in total, are compelling and engaging, unfolding in a nice, steady pace and some of them have some well-placed and effective twists that make them all the more intriguing. The cinematography is also breathtaking with the majority of episodes set in the beautiful Norwegian landscape.

In the sea of today's Nordic Noir television exports, ''Varg Veum'' stands out both in terms of quality and entertainment. If you are a fan of the genre, you should check out immediately this Norwegian production which is on the top-5 on my list of the best Scandi-Noir television series of all time. It should also be noted that the book series are ongoing and the latest novel, titled Wolves at the Door, was published on April 14, 2019.
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enough to commend it, but
farbman-520806 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
We have watched many different mysteries over the year but this is the first review and I'll make it short. The conclusion resolves the story in a preposterous fashion. Veum has no backup and it's a very long shot successful ending.
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OK but not great!
qui_j2 January 2019
This is a series we are now getting in the US on Mhz. Compared to the more modern Scandi-Noir offerings, this just seems a bit too contrived, and has all the usual focus of Norwegian Eco topics i.e environmental pollution by big companies, selling chemical weapons etc. As is common in many Norwegian films, logic seems to go out the door and story events just occur without explanation, as long as they fit the story to give it a happy ending. The lead character is a very scruffy looking detective who really could do with a good clean up himself. He seems to get into scrapes with the criminals without waiting for back up to help. Not sure if this is part and parcel for the character as I have not read the novels on which the series is based. The series is composed of a number of seemingly independent episodes so will have to review each one as I watch. The first two, Bitter Flowers and Sleeping Beauty are just watchable but have none of the psychological twists associated with the more modern Scanidi-Noir offerings from Sweden and Denmark. The early Norwegian attempts I find are more geared towards being Politically correct and since the dialog via the subtitles conveys this, have to be enjoyed in that context!
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Varg Veum
magda_butra18 January 2018
A local politician Vibeke Farang (Trine Wiggen) is hiring Varg to find her young daughter who has gone missing. Hamre and his assistant Isaschen (Endre Hellestveit) do not wish detective's help and at the same time it is obvious, that he will solve the mystery first. In the investigation a huge company producing medicine is involved as well as brothers who are about to take over the management over it. Corrupted, filled with evil upper class and good, straightfoward Varg. Between those two worlds there is a lawyer working at the company, Anna(Kathrine Fagerland), who would have to choose between job and morality.

Watching "Bitter flowers" makes sense only because of introducing the character of Anna, who will appear in the next pieces. Because beside of the good opening scene the movie is full of cliches - rich parents, preoccupied with carrier and romances, but of course loving their kids, a conspiracy in the big company, and one of the final scenes has too much of resemblance to the end of the one seasons of Dexter.

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Varg Veum - Bitre blomster/ Bitter flowers!
k-klem18 October 2007
Finally it's happened! Varg Veum is now a part of movie history!

This first movie is quite good.

It keeps a nice flow of suspense and has good locations. The actors are doing a good job!

Trond Espen Seim is very cool as Varg Veum! (Thou it would have been fun with a 20 year younger Helge Jordal = Orions Belte!!) Bjørn Floberg is powerful on the screen, when he talks everybody listens!

Great camera-work, and a very nice music score, that builds up the suspense of the movie! Would have been fun if there had been a cameo of Varg Veums Creator Gunnar Staalesen, in all the movies! You know, like Hitchcock!

Varg Veum will Return!!
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