If you’re a fan of crime dramas, you really don’t want to pass up watching The Chestnut Man. Well written, gritty and utterly engrossing from start to finish, this Nordic noir is nicely poised to end September with a bang.
Adapted from the novel by Soren Sveistrup, The Chestnut Man is incredibly chilling and although I haven’t read the novel, it does seem like Netflix have done a decent job capturing the same atmosphere and tone the books are synonymous with.
Much like the books, the story here centers on police detective Naia Thulin and her new associate Mark Hess. It’s your typical “new guy teamed up with hardened senior” set-up, but this is a show that leans in harder to its plot than its characters. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though and across the six episodes you’ll find yourself trying your best to piece together all the clues and solve the crime before our detectives do.
The crime in question is strung out across the first four and a half episodes, with the finale working to wrap everything up and catch the killer. Before we get to that though, we begin with a farm in 1987 where a brutal mass murder sets the tone immediately. A whole stack of chestnut figurines in the basement are an important clue too, and ultimately turn into the killer’s mark as we jump forward to present day.
As the killer strikes, an enticing cat and mouse chase ensues, leading Thulin and Hess along an elaborate quest that pushes both of them to the absolute limit.
All of this culminates in a climactic final that wraps up all the big story beats and ends things on a really satisfying note, leaving no doubts over who the killer is, why they’re involved and what happens to our characters in the aftermath of that. As far as crime dramas go, this is about as complete a story as you could get.
Aesthetically, The Chestnut Man is gritty and uses a lot of grey filters over the establishing shots to reinforce that. The soundtrack feeds into this tone too, with some really intense bass kicks and minor string segments that give this the same edge that shows like The Killing have in abundance. And if you’re a fan of that show, you’re sure to absolutely love this one.
Ultimately, The Chestnut Man is all about the story and this case is gripping and engrossing from start to finish. This Nordic drama is beautifully constructed, well-paced and a must to put on your watch-list.