Review – The Purity of Vengeance (2019): Fantasia International Film Festival!

by Vincent Leblanc

My second film on Day 11 of the Fantasia International Film Festival was the Canadian Premiere of the Danish crime thriller Journal 64 aka The Purity of Vengeance. The film opened in Danish theaters in October 2018 and apparently became the highest-grossing Danish film ever during its run. It also played in many film festivals before landing in Montreal.   

The Purity of Vengeance was written by Nikolaj Arcel, Bo Hr. Hansen, and Mikkel Nørgaard, based on the crime novel “Journal 64” by Danish writer Jussi Adler-Olsen (this is actually an adaptation of the fourth novel from Adler-Olsen’s “Afdeling Q” aka “Department Q” novel series). The film was directed by Christoffer Boe. It stars Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Fares Fares, and Johanne Louise Schmidt.

Read this synopsis if you want to know more about “The Purity of Vengeance” (copied from the Fantasia website):


“Detectives Carl and Assad encounter a gruesome crime scene: four skeletons trapped behind a wall, arranged around a dining table, their deaths long ago but obviously painful. As they search for the killer, the detectives uncover a decades-old secret society that has been imprisoning and abusing “fallen” women, and now continues its mandate of racial purity on anyone it deems unworthy of Danish society.”

When I realized that The Purity of Vengeance was part of the festival this year and that it was the fourth film of the “Department Q” series, it finally gave me an incentive to watch the first three films of the series that had been in my Netflix watchlist for the longest time. The Keeper of Lost Causes (2013), The Absent One (2014), and A Conspiracy of Faith (2016) are all great Nordic Noir crime thrillers.  

The Purity of Vengeance was an equally excellent crime thriller. I really enjoyed the story and the investigation. As with its predecessors, the plot has some dark, twisted elements that makes for a fun viewing. I also loved the two main actors who keep on doing their own thing from the basement of their police station.

Note that all films have independent stories, so I guess it’s not necessary to have watched all the other films to understand what is going on. There is some progression in the characters and a third important character joined the duo in the second film. 

The first three films were available on Netflix for a long time, but I can’t find them anymore, at least on the Canadian version I use. Maybe, they’ll come back all at once if they decide to add The Purity of Vengeance someday. Unfortunately, none of the films are available to own on physical media in North America. 

I am giving The Purity of Vengeance a 4 out of 5 Hairpieces!

Check the following trailer for an idea of what the film looks like: 

#Fantasia2019 #FantasiaFest #ThePurityofVengeance

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