Black Crab is one of the better direct-to-Netflix movies to hit the streaming service in quite some time. Co-writer/director Adam Berg and co-writer Pelle Rådström introduce a post-apocalyptic setting that isn’t anything audiences haven’t seen before. However, Black Crab tells its familiar story within the context of a thrilling adventure.
‘Black Crab’ tackles a post-apocalyptic war
A seemingly never-ending war continues to tear apart a post-apocalyptic world. The winter is particularly harsh, but six soldiers are tasked with a final mission with a low chance of success. However, if they can manage to pull it off, then the war is over and they can reclaim their freedom. The soldiers must cross behind enemy lines and transport a mysterious package to their target destination.
Black Crab tells its story from Caroline Edh’s (Noomi Rapace) perspective. The speed skater-turned soldier hasn’t seen her daughter in quite some time, but she will be reunited with her daughter if she can pull this off. The group travels across a frozen archipelago with the goal of finally achieving peace once and for all.
Writer/director Adam Berg tells a mother/daughter story with a frozen archipelago in between
Black Crab begins with a radio broadcast of a Civil War taking place, as merciless soldiers throw Caroline and her daughter into a life-or-death situation. From the very beginning, Caroline’s peers underestimate her as she becomes a soldier. However, she’s resourceful, smart, and determined. The trauma of losing her daughter translates into her dreams that bring her most impactful memories into her present.
Caroline learns that the best way to stay alive is to follow orders. Those who haven’t learned the same lesson are hanged from the freeways as deserters. However, Caroline begins to question those around her. Berg keeps the war rather ambiguous, never entirely revealing much about either side of the combat. There isn’t a “good” or “bad” side of the war in Black Crab, allowing the audiences to judge its characters as individuals rather than according to their commanding officers.
Berg establishes very high stakes, including Caroline’s desperation to find her daughter. However, she will have to face numerous deadly hazards along the way. Enemy snipers, the thickness of the ice beneath their skates, and below-freezing temperatures are just some of the dangers along the soldiers’ path. Berg never allows his characters to feel safe.
‘Black Crab’ is an entertaining action thriller
Berg’s impressive direction greatly contributes to Black Crab‘s mounting tension. He utilizes the snowy setting to his advantage, creating a lack of visibility for both the characters and the audience. As a result, danger truly feels all-encompassing. The sound department truly excels, providing an immense amount of atmosphere as the soundstage fills with the sound of crackling ice. This gives the illusion that the characters could fall through at any moment.
Rapace is starring in some truly fascinating projects lately. Black Crab joins her other recent films, including Lamb and You Won’t Be Alone. Rapace once again brings a certain magnetizing vulnerability to her role, providing dramatic heft. However, Erik Enge and Jakob Oftebro also turn in solid performances as other members of the crew.
The characters’ decision-making in Black Crab isn’t always the smartest. However, the film remains captivating, even through an all-too-abrupt ending that doesn’t fully capitalize on its tense journey. Its statement on war ultimately hinders the storytelling, but it remains a worthwhile adventure. Black Crab offers an entertaining, taut thriller that utilizes its snow-covered setting quite well.
Black Crab hits Netflix on March 18.