Broen/bron: how to colour coordinate your murders

When Danish detective Hanne’s foot was blown off in the first installment of season 3 of Swedish/Danish Nordic Noir tv-show Broen (the Brigde), I wanted to freeze my screen.

The image of Hanne lying there with no leg and blood squirting out of her was so morbid, and yet so skillfully colour-coordinated that the scene was nothing less than an aesthetic feast for the eyes. The neutral browns, with a hint of ocher and warm tans made the background so soothing, but then the purple of Hanne’s jacket and the red of her blood made it all so raw.

And I felt it, it was like a classical symphony suddenly playing very loudly, I drew a sharp breath and wanted to cry, but not for Hanne, poor woman. Although I would have liked for two women detectives to rule this season, I didn’t feel for her. (And of course, she didn’t die.) I felt for the beauty of that very scene.

It was an image so very clearly planned down to the miniscule detail, but still able to get an audience to the edge of their seat because of what just happened and the way it was presented.

Oh, Hans Rosenfeldt, you have written such a clever, clever show, produced by an equally fabulous crew and with such amazing actors.

I said it in an earlier post, and I stand by it, knowing your trends may get you far. Rosenfeldt’s show is just so enticing: A strong and strangely glorious female detective with an undiagnosed diagnosis, storylines so current you’d be forgiven for thinking the next episode is written as you are watching the one before. And then wrapped up in amazing Scandinavian scenery, in that melancholic, Nordic, blue light.

The blue light is a big part of what makes the show so magical. Colours affect us more than a lot of us give them credit for. Here’s a hand picked quote for you. It is by someone critically acclaimed and it is taken completely out of context, something I like to do to pretend that what I say has intellectual depth:

The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love colour the most, said English writer John Ruskin.

He would have loved The Bridge, of that I am sure, and he might also have loved what comes next. Because what I also bring to you today, mon cher, is a way for you to color-coordinate your own murders in true Nordic Noir-style. Check out this website:

Image is screenshot of website.

This website let’s you upload an image for free – I have uploaded the featured image for this post – you press enter, and it gives you the palette from that image – for free. So then all you have to do to create a breathtaking murder scene is to snap a photo of your victim with your iPhone, make sure his or her outfit is colour-coordinated with your selected background for the deed  – or else you must choose a different day with a better outfit – and then strike when they least expect it. 

And it doesn’t have to be about death or mutilation. Say you are creating a nice space for your daughter, and she wants to feel like she is a character in the film Frost, as many young girls do these days. Upload her favourite image into the “Colors Pallete Generator” and extract the colour palette from it. Then play around with those colours in her room until you get the right feel for her.

The thing about getting the color palette right – it matters, and it really can take away the gruesomeness of a situation and makes it arty and breathtaking instead.

Murder can mean a lot of things. Badly matched furniture is murder in my eyes. But color-coordinate it, and suddenly it starts to look like it belongs together. That is the point of this post, get the colour palette right, and you can get away with (almost) anything!

Take the obvious example: disastrous beauty Saga Norén, always with brilliant bedhead, always perfectly color-coordinated with that other lead actress, her super cool ochre Porsche. Saga is paired in every season with some Danish ruffian, always a street smart one, always commonly dressed, nothing like Saga, never like Saga. It certainly makes for an interesting contrast that they are so unlike, but colour-coordinate the two of them, and I forget how terribly Hanne (or Martin Rohde) dressed. 

Bron III Broen III Kirsten Olesen as Hanne Sofia Helin as Saga Norén Director: Henrik Georgsson Photo: Carolina Romare Produced by Filmlance International AB
Image courtesy of NRK

I forget Hanne’s ill-fitting jeans and her terrible jacket with that equally dreadful scarf. Paired with Saga, she looks too cool for school. Even more so with only half a leg.

In the words of French artist Fernand Léger:

Man needs colour to live; it’s just as necessary an element as fire and water.

Oh yes indeed – and not just colour, but colour-coordination!