A Danish paparazzo sees through a lens darkly in this taut, violent thriller about betrayal and revenge.
At first, there's little melancholy about transplanted Dane Peter Lime. He loves his beautiful wife Amelia, his charming seven-year-old daughter Maria Luisa, and his snug, sun-kissed home on the outskirts of Madrid. In his more reflective moments he's rather amused by the scale of his contentment since, as a nomadic youngster—backpack and camera often his only luggage—the idea of family was a cultural anomaly. But life, of course, is full of surprises, and an ugly one is about to wreak havoc with his well-ordered existence. Peter Lime is a paparazzo. He earns his living, he freely acknowledges, “from the public's insatiable craving to see the famous and rich disgracing themselves.” It's a healthy living indeed: the “hit” he's about to make on the naked cabinet minister cuddling with the naked actress not his wife figures to fatten his bankroll by close to $200,000. But it's Peter who'll pay the piper (and dearly) for this bit of eroticism. For starters, he's arrested, thrown in jail, and gratuitously roughed up as the result of political muscle getting flexed. And yet his enemy isn't quite the enemy he's identified. Someone much more ruthless is focusing on him, someone suddenly convinced that Peter has become a danger—an enemy who will stop at nothing to keep certain secrets safely locked away. It's a case of history having tentacles. Buried in his files, Peter comes to realize, is a half-forgotten photograph with blood on it. Unfortunately, he doesn't know where or of what. Or who to trust as he grimly searches for answers.
Strong beginning, squishy middle, smashing climax: Davidsen (The Russian Singer, 1991, etc.) does the edgy, European atmospherics to a turn.