Occupied is a 3 disc set which is released on Blu-ray and DVD today (Dazzler Media). It comes to us from the makers of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo films and Wallander , Yellow Bird, and is based on an idea by Jo Nesbo. It has recently been shown on Sky Arts and was received with some controversy in certain countries.
Occupied is a Norwegian political thriller set some time in the near future which deals with some big themes. Political power and responsibility, terrorism, protest, loyalty, nostalgia and the role of the media in politics are all in there.
The show’s storyline is based around climate change and how it has brought Europe to the brink of war. Norway has an environmentally friendly prime minister Jasper Berg (Henrik Mestad) who has convinced his voters that the best way to tackle climate change is to halt oil production in Norway and embrace a newer, ‘cleaner’ energy source similar to nuclear power. This decision sends all the powerful nations into crisis. Russia steps in at the request of the EU to protect the oil for the rest of the world and they occupy Norway and its oil rigs. The occupation shows us how different people react to such a situation and highlights how fine the balance of political power can be.
This show has decent production values, excellent pacing and was nicely shot but doesn’t feature any particularly stunning landscape shots or weather shots such as we saw in the recent show Trapped. It has some great interiors and architectural shots, lots of candles, beautifully dressed people and a mainly urban setting. The show has the feel of Norway looking to the USA rather than a home grown series. It wouldn’t seem out of place on HBO except, obviously, it has subtitles.
Political drama, enviro drama, political suspense thriller – this 10 episode show could be called many different things but is it Nordic Noir? It has some elements but perhaps not presented strongly enough. The show does not end on a high note and is wide open to be continued in a second series. It was a good watch and fans of Homeland, Borgen or Tom Clancy’s work will enjoy it.