Three independent events come together in this pleasantly elusive film that tends toward both a stylized thriller and a dry comedy. Director Baltasar Kormákur (The Sea) does not shirk from stripping the film noir genre of a few clichés and enriching it with details and visually pregnant sketches of a world that may well be 1980s Minnesota, but at the same time seems to deny any notion of place and time. In this mysterious universe, insurance agent Abe Holt (Forest Whitaker) is investigating the suspicious death of the driver of a burned-out car. Holt has to work out whether the dead man, a conman with a criminal record, could possibly have been the victim of an attempt to swindle the insurance company. When he meets Isolde (Julia Stiles), the dead man's sister, whose face is disfigured by severe scars, Holt slowly begins to lose his professional distance. Against the backdrop of a hostile, endless and harsh Midwest, the characters reveal themselves to be multi-layered, involved in a curious yet balanced plot. In the end Holt must decide if doing the right thing is worth doing something very, very wrong.
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