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The Element of Crime Details


A detective plagued by headaches goes to a hypnotist and relives his investigation into a serial killer case in Lars von Trier's first feature, The Element of Crime. Fisher (Michael Elphick), a retired policeman, returns to Europe at the behest of his mentor, Osborne (Esmond Knight of Esmond Knight). Osborne, the author of an influential textbook called The Element of Crime, has given up his investigation into the Lotto Murders, in which a number of lottery ticket salesgirls have been killed and mutilated. The new chief of police, Kramer (former Benny Hill Show regular Jerold Wells), is a trigger-happy lunatic who objects to Fisher's methodical approach to crime solving. Osborne, meanwhile, seemingly losing his grip on reality, insists that the killer, Harry Grey, died in a car crash. Using Osborne's methods, Fisher tries to delve into the mind of Grey by following the path of a trip the killer took three years earlier, while Osborne was investigating him. Along the way, Fisher hooks up with a prostitute, Kim (Me Me Lai), who also has a link to Grey. As he gets closer to unraveling the mystery, Fisher finds himself taking on more and more aspects of the killer's persona. Von Trier uses a traditional film noir style voice-over, while visually, his film is a monochromatic sepia tone with occasional flashes of fluorescent blue. This film brought von Trier international attention, paving the way for his success with Von Trier and Von Trier. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi


Michael Elphick
as Fisher
Esmond Knight
as Osborne
Me Me Lai
as Kim
Stig Larsson
as assistant
Camilla Overbye Roos
as First Lotto Girl
Maria Behrendt
as Lotto Girls
Lars von Trier
as Schmuck of Ages
Gotha Andersen
as Judge
Jerold Wells
as Police Chief Kramer
Leif Magnusson
as Hotel Guest


Lars von Trier
Lars von Trier
Per Holst
Lars von Trier
Lars von Trier
Screen Story
Tom Elling
Niels Voersel
Tom Elling
Bo Holten
Composer (Music Score)
Peter Hoimark
Production Designer
Manon Rasmussen
Costume Designer
Lars von Trier
Camera Operator
Per Arman
Production Manager
Tom Elling
Second Unit Director Of Photography
Birte Christensen