Netflix review of 'The Chestnut Man: Watch It Now Or Not!This is a creepy version of 'The Killing' with scary chestnut figurines.
Nothing is more creepy than a murderer who leaves behind little figures when they're done. In the new Danish series The Chestnut Man, the killer leaves behind little men made from the nuts that are usually roasting on an open fire at Christmastime. Are you still curious? Continue reading for more.
Open Shot: A overhead shot showing an Volvo from the 1980s driving through wooded areas. It's a police car on the Island of Møn, in 1987.
The General Summary: A call comes in from the sheriff about a farmer whose cows have escaped. When he arrives at the farm, three men are murdered and another is seriously hurt. The sheriff ventures down into the basement to meet his demise but not before seeing a small girl hidden under a chestnut-stuffed workbench.
Now, we are in Copenhagen. Naia Thulin, a police detective, is having sex in her apartment with her boyfriend. But, since Le (Liva Forsberg), doesn't want to hear about it, she walks him out of the room before Le wakes up. She tries to convince her boss to give her a reference in order to be transferred to the IT department. He is reluctant to give her a reference because of how competent she is as an investigator. He's sending her off to look at a new case, pairing her up with Mark Hess (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), a Europol agent who is reluctantly assigned to help the local cops.
Although the house in which the victim lived remains relatively intact, the victim's body was found at the playground. Hess is more interested in the sale of his apartment than in solving the actual case, but he did find one piece: A small man of chestnuts.
Rosa Hartung, Denmark's social secretary (Iben Dorner), is back in Parliament. This marks the return of her daughter Kristine Mortensen (Celine Morensen), who was kidnapped and murdered 12 months ago. Her husband Steen (Esben Dalgaard Andersen) does his best to make sure the routine for her and their son Gustav (Louis Næss-Schmidt) is as normal as possible. He's not letting it be known that he is more affected by Kristine's death than he realizes.
Rosa arrives at work to discover that there is a threat to her email account. It contains photos of Kristine taken from an Instagram account she had closed after the abduction.
Thulin asks the victim's boyfriend questions about the case. Hess then wonders why the evidence suggests that locks were changed on the day before the woman died. Thulin doesn't have many leads. Another interesting discovery is made by forensics: Kristine found a fingerprint on the chestnut-man. Thulin's boss won't allow her to speak to Hartungs even though she insists. This leads to an explanation. Thulin, Hess, and their son, the victim, realize that there is more to Hartung and current cases.
What Shows Will It Remind You Of? The Chestnut Man definitely has the slow-burn vibe of a show like The Killing, along with the mismatched partners who end up working well together on the season-long case.
Our Take: There were times during the first episode of The Chestnut Man, based on the novel by Søren Sveistrup, that things are too slow of a burn. It's difficult to follow the plot and there is too much talk. But that's feel purposeful on the part of Sveistrup and his co-creators Dorte Høgh, David Sandreuter and Mikkel Serup. The creators want the viewer to feel that the current case doesn't seem to be moving on. Then Kristine Hartung's fingerprint appears, which sends the show into a direction that intrigues viewers.
We've all seen shows like these, in which "everyone knows a secret", that it's hard not to wonder where the Chestnut Man could be. The chestnut figurines give it extra creepiness. It is not clear if this is a Danish phenomenon, but the idea of making tiny figurines from chestnuts seems strange to little children. This gives Thulin and Hess a special form of the creeps.
There's also the possibility of a linkback to the case we first saw in cold open in 1987. It will, but we aren't sure exactly where. We know that people love these Scandi noir episodes because of their lack of predictability. Curcic and Følsgaard work well together, even when it seems like Hess is disinterested in the case and Thulin wants to be anywhere but in a car with this guy.
It will be fascinating to watch their relationship develop as the mystery continues. We can also see how they work together. Thulin has been reluctant to reveal her identity to her family, while Hess remains in Copenhagen with his partner.
Skin and Sex: Other than the first scene, there is nothing else.
The Parting Shot: Thulin and Hess disagree on how to handle the case. A chestnut with a prickly shell drops onto Thulin’s car roof. It is removed and she gets in, but Thulin's ominous music suggests that this was much more than a chance.
Star Sleeper:Anders Hove portrays Askel, Thulin’s father-in law and former cop. He will offer advice, or hinder her efforts by his curiousity about the case.
The Most Pilot-y Line: Kristine Hartung's fate is still a mystery. Her body wasn't found but her pieces were. Why was she declared deceased?
Our call: STEAM IT. The Chestnut Man is a captivating mystery with strong leads. This is a great example of Scandi noir's popularity.
Are you willing to stream the Danish noir series #ChestnutMan or not on @netflix #SIOSI
— Decider (@decider) September 30, 2021
Joel Keller (@joelkeller), writes about tech, food, entertainment and parenting. But he isn't lying to himself, he loves TV. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.
Watch The Chestnut Man on Netflix