Businessman Thomas Skepphult (Mads Mikkelsen) is the CEO of a high risk investment company that is on the brink of selling its lucrative stake in another firm. However, the buyer has encountered irregularities in connection with a suicide that happened at the company several years ago. At the same time, Thomas’s partner William (Borje Ahlstedt) confides in him that he wishes to retire very soon.
Yet that night William is murdered in his own home, Thomas is arrested and treated as the number one suspect as he would benefit from his partner’s death. Thomas calls his lawyer yet is re-directed to a mysterious man who threatens to do harm to his wife and child if he doesn’t give access to his off-shore account. Managing to escape police custody, Thomas is on the run and against time to protect his family and financial assets from someone who knows him all too well.
Exit is released to coincide with the boom in Scandinavian crime drama outside of its native country. It’s also the perfect time to release the film as it stars two of America’s biggest foreign imports in Mads Mikkelsen and Alexander Skarsgard, from Hannibal and True Blood respectively.
The film was made back in 2006, so both of the famous faces look very young. But as we know, both of them are fine actors and even though this was made several years ago it’s pretty clear that they had talent. Skarsgard, playing Fabian Von Klerking, is a lot more innocent and wet behind the ears than most of his other roles; however he manages to make us believe that he does struggle with a lot of the intricate details in the firm as he isn’t as clued up.
Mikkelsen’s portrayal of a wrongly accused man has been done many times over in many films, so it really takes something special to break above what we have seen before. Sadly it never happens here, It’s not to say Mads isn’t great, just more that he seems a very complex person but the story doesn’t give too much to help in fleshing his thoughts and actions out.
The story struggles to keep the plot and tension tight throughout, the opening scenes set the tone very nicely for a Nordic Noir film but it never lives up to it until right at the end. By that time we had begun to stop caring for most of the problems Thomas was facing. There are some very interesting ideas that seem to combine elements of The Killing and 24 TV shows, but sadly it never pays off to that level of greatness.
Exit is a pretty average and muddling film, we could tell that it was made at the beginning of the rise of the Scandinavian crime genre as there are some nice touches that continue on in other shows nowadays. But it’s let down by a slow script and lack of tension to really keep us focussed. Both main actors try their best, but ultimately even they seem to be lost in the haze.