Black comedies about spouse-murder have always been popular; a TV series I’ve enjoyed very much recently has been Black Widows, now in its second season, depicting three friends – a Norwegian, a Dane and a Swede, like the set-up to a bar joke – who murder their husbands. But Small Town Killers, about two colleagues in a crooked building business in the isolated Danish town of Nibe who hire a Russian hitman to kill their wives, misses on every level. It’s rather terrible.
The script hits incredibly familiar beats while stinking of a misogyny that feels not so much a comment on the conservatism of small-town life as it does anachronistic. Indeed, with its gags about the drunkenness of Russians, the primness of Brits and the monotonous sexual routine of marriage, it feels like a script pulled from the ‘90s drawer. Cutting-edge it ain’t, despite the bold green poster.
I should have listened to the warning bells that poster gave me – it’s the kind of poster that is trying to trick you into thinking you’re gonna get something darkly hip in the vein of Tarantino while serving third-time reheats – Things To Do In Nibe When You’re Dead. Instead, I listened to the side of my brain telling me that all Danish cinema is interesting. It isn’t. Like every country, it produces duds, and Small Town Killers is resolutely one of them.