An often tense psychological drama, Jeanette Nordahl’s Wildland examines a family-run criminal syndicate and the complex dynamics between those actively involved. It paints a bleak picture for future generations born into this world, and how such a web can extend to anyone who unwittingly stumbles into their destructive lives. This is where lead character Ida (a convincing Sandra Guldberg Kampp) finds herself after a car crash takes her mother’s life. Without a choice she is thrust into her aunt Bodil’s (Sidse Babett Knudsen) house, filled with relatives Ida either doesn’t know or doesn’t remember. 

The poisoned morality of the family instantly sees her as a potential extra set of hands. As an impressionable teenager, barely seventeen, Ida avoids rocking any boats, staying quiet and observant while doing as she is told. She may not have many lines, but the facial expression Guldberg Kampp almost permanently wears illustrates how she is coping better than any script could.

Wildland is a dark, slow burn whose skillful editing enhances the impact of some shocking moments, one in particular that truly hammers home the film’s depressing truth. Despite happy familial appearances within the house, through Ida’s eyes we clearly see the layers of toxicity simmering beneath. A stellar debut feature by Jeanette Nordahl, one that will remain hard to forget.

Wildland is screening at the Scandinavian Film Festival in Australia