The picture of Iceland that emerges in Baltasar Kormakur's "Jar City" is vivid and powerful but not something the country's tourist board would be likely to endorse. The landscape has its austere poetry to be sure -- mountains framing the apartment blocks of Reykjavik, spits of volcanic rock jutting into a churning sea -- but a fog of damp unhappiness seems to pervade every face and conversation. And yet by the end of this film, based on a popular mystery novel by Arnaldur Indridason, it is hard not to feel a certain affection for the place. Partly this is because Mr. Kormakur's fondness for Iceland and its stoical, surname-free people is evident from start to finish.
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