Noomi Rapace Astounds in a Visceral War Thriller


Noomi Rapace transforms from a desperate mother to a lethal soldier in a tense and visceral action-thriller. Black Crab takes place in a Sweden devastated by a barbaric enemy. The premise has the country’s failing army sending a team across the frozen sea ice in a last-ditch effort to turn the tide. The film is unflinching in its portrayal of war’s savagery. Innocents are brutalized in a frozen conflict with no mercy. Black Crab had me spellbound until the third act with a questionable resolve.

Caroline Edh (Rapace), a former champion speed skater, flees in a car with her pre-teen daughter, Vanja (Stella Marcimain Klintberg). They encounter enemy troops murdering civilians. Some time later in a war-ravaged apocalypse, a much different Caroline is pulled from a refugee train. A sneering Lieutenant Nylund (Jakob Oftebro) berates her small stature. Caroline quickly proves that she can kill if needed. She finds her way to “the base.”


Colonel Raad (David Dencik) has assembled a team of six soldiers with skills pertinent for a top-secret mission, Operation Black Crab. The enemy will soon defeat them. Their only hope lies in taking two canisters to a research base more than a hundred miles away. The sea has frozen enough for them to skate across the ice. They will have to travel at night and through enemy territory. Granvik (Erik Enge), a young sniper, calls it suicidal. Caroline initially refuses her orders. Raad then shows her a picture of an older Vanja in a refugee camp near their destination. Nothing will stop Caroline from finding her beloved child.

Motives in Black Crab

Black Crab never reveals the enemies or their agenda. They are masked killers that bomb indiscriminately and shoot anyone in their path. Cities lay in ruins as civilian survivors flee south to escape the carnage. Hunger and despair forces drastic measures of survival. Caroline, when she sleeps, flashes back to life with her daughter and the events that led up to Vanja’s disappearance. This way we see the protagonist as a caring mother. Violence forced her to become an adept combatant.

Black Crab has amazing cinematography and well-shot action scenes. Director/co-writer Adam Berg gets top marks in his feature film debut. The gunplay is swift and merciless. Caroline’s team skates across the black ice while dodging multiple enemy encounters. A standout scene has them crawling as an enemy sniper uses flares to illuminate the darkness. They dodge tracer fire. Then try to ascertain the sniper’s location. The battlefield skirmishes look authentic. Hollywood take notice. Adam Berg shows promise as a big-budget filmmaker.

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Noomi Rapace in Black Crab

Noomi Rapace in Black Crab

Noomi Rapace continues to astound as an actor. She’s ferocity and determination personified. We’ve seen her before in action films and television series, but nothing to this hardcore extent. Rapace channels a Sarah Connor from Terminator 2 vibe. She slashes baddies, tosses grenades, and pops headshots like a seasoned pro. Rapace owns this film. She’s completely believable as the toughest character.

Black Crab’s final act goes in an unexpected direction. It makes sense but feels somewhat of a letdown. I don’t have an issue with what happens. The ending seems sudden after such an arduous journey.

The most compelling part of the film can be drawn from today’s awful headlines. Russia’s bloody and ruthless invasion of Ukraine has forced civilians to defend their country. How many mothers have taken up arms while their children shelter from artillery, missiles, and bombs? Black Crab is a work of fiction, but it depicts a catastrophic European war. Just like Ukraine, where the entire world is watching in horror.

Black Crab is a Swedish film (Svarte Krabba) with English subtitles. Black Crab is an INDIO production. It will have a global streaming premiere on March 18th on Netflix.

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