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Stolen is a 2024 Netflix crime drama that’s more documentary than crime drama directed by Elle Marja Eira, a Swedish filmmaker. The film is based on a novel by Ann-Helén Laestadius and it tells the story of Sami people who have long engaged in reindeer herding. The movie delves into hate crimes and the interrelationships among different villages.

Elsa, a young girl, begins the story when she chooses her own reindeer calf. Elsa dreams of one day working as a reindeer keeper just like her father does. However, during her childhood years, everything crumbles with the killing of her beloved calf by someone else in front of her eyes. Nastegallu was slaughtered before Elsa left for home and it remained secret to ever since; Elsa feels guilty about not having been able to get justice for the death of Nastegallu which led to ongoing killings of reindeers within their community.

In addition, this movie exhibits some horrifying acts on the deer amidst all these stunning sceneries. It is scary to see innocent blood on clean snow; it gives you goosebumps. This film also educates us on how Sami people live their lives. Most parts are spoken in Sami language showing how people were once punished for using their own languages. It reveals the difficulties experinced by samis trying hard to keep their herd despite government protection policies.

The film beautifully portrays many herding techniques and also highlights climate change impact on reindeer herding. On one hand there is conflict between Sami and neighboring villagers over building of mill that could employ villagers but upset way of life for Sami too on other hand there are images depicting young Sámi who can’t bear any more violence against their herd.

This movie has breathtaking visuals especially from Sweden’s northern part where beautiful landscapes are found. Here you have such beautiful shots with snowy mountains around them, and crystal clear lakes just taking your breath away. Besides, the Sami communities are there with their rich traditions and strong link to their land. One of the aspects in cinematography is playing with natural light, whether it be from long summer days to twilight of winter.

The colours of arctic landscape were so beautiful that they enhanced mood of the movie. Thus turning Sweden’s landscape into a character by itself which changes drastically throughout one year reflecting the film’s themes as well as the story.

The characters in this film can be divided into two groups; those who want to divide Samis from each other and those seeking justice for reindeer killings. Elsa achieves her dream of becoming a reindeer keeper and hunts down her killer when she has no one to help her village except for herself but she does not have anybody else.

The movie portrays the police as being ineffectual, merely giving a name to the killings and calling them “stolen” without actually doing anything. Elsa’s brother, Mattias, shares her objective and even foolishly decides to confront the killer himself. The killer who often complains about not having freedom for fishing or snowmobiling owing to government restrictions that are meant to protect reindeer is Robert Isaksson.

It seems that this anger forms his primary motivation for carrying out violence against the reindeer and Sami community. In the film, so much of their lives seem centered on reindeer; this can make them come off as flat characters or alienate viewers from them. The opposite aspect is a hunter who captures deer and records his cruel actions with them just to humiliate Sami communities.

He was shown as a narcissist who thought government controls were taking charge of his life. He would complain about how he could no longer do things he did in childhood such as fish with his father; seemingly inconsequential problems leading him into committing horrific crimes. Even after issuing death threats at an entire community without any retribution from authorities.

Sometimes when you get too preachy in films they feel like hitting you over the head with its message like boring speech from one teacher you had in school once upon a time. Stolen is almost like forgetting to be subtle: it is akin to dancing in clown shoes—definitely not elegant! Instead of allowing the story shine through the characters though, it appears that the movie sits on a soapbox shouting its ideas at you.

This Stolen movie does much preaching that it fails to concentrate on what should have been its main part as crime drama despite being categorized under such genre it tends more towards preaching than crime drama. The plot’s alright, nothing spectacular but preachiness takes center stage rendering this film uninteresting than what would have been a more engaging storyline. It feels like eating wonderful food with excessive amounts of salt.

Stolen is a Swedish flick from the year 2024 that tackles challenges faced by Sami people in Sweden. It is a visually stunning film that takes you through some beautiful locations and it teaches you about the traditions of Sami and how their government supports them. But let’s set the record straight: it’s not your typical crime drama.

This movie leans towards being more of a semi-documentary which gives an actual education as one watches it. If you like documentaries with real impact, then this will be worth your time; otherwise, go ahead and pass on this one.

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