Movie review: Meet the Swedish Forrest Gump in The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared | Arts
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Movie review: Meet the Swedish Forrest Gump in The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

Posted by on Thu, May 21, 2015 at 4:05 PM

click to enlarge Robert Gustafsson in The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared - PHOTO COURTESY OF MUSIC BOX FILMS
  • photo courtesy of Music Box Films
  • Robert Gustafsson in The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
★★★ ½ 
Opening Friday

Droll, daffy and entirely enjoyable, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared is a Swedish comedy whose screwy rhythms extend well beyond its title.

Based on Jonas Jonasson's best-selling comic novel, the film was a gigantic hit in Europe last year. The default description would be a kind of Swedish riff on Forrest Gump. It begins with centenarian Allan Karlsson (Robert Gustafsson) dropping out of the window of his retirement home and wandering to the bus station. As his newest adventure unfolds, we get his life story in flashback, in which he bumbles his way through major events of the 20th century.

Through dumb luck and good timing, Allan saves General Franco's life, gets drunk with Stalin and helps Oppenheimer develop the atomic bomb. He also befriends Albert Einstein's dimwitted brother, Herbert, and later goes to work for both the CIA and the KGB during the Cold War. Meanwhile, in the present-day narrative, Allan accidentally comes into possession of a suitcase full of money belonging to a gang of dumb but dangerous Swedish bikers. The bikers, in turn, are supposed to deliver the money to an Australian mafia don. Things quickly get complicated, even before the elephant shows up.

The contemporary scenes are pitched at the comic frequency of old Looney Tunes shorts, and I mean that as a total compliment. In fact, there's a very funny running gag regarding Allan's fondness for explosives that plays out like a kind of live-action, gallows-humor Road Runner cartoon. Whenever a dangling plot thread threatens to spoil the story's momentum, director Felix Herngren stages some kind of explosion. The story resets, and we go on to the next scene. I kept waiting for falling anvils or an Acme product placement.

The flashback sequences have a slightly different tone. Like the estimable Mr. Gump, Allan falls ass-backwards into history. But unlike Gump, he's no dummy. As played by Sweden's most popular comic, Allan is smart, mildly callous and largely disinterested in the world around him, until he gets the opportunity to indulge his passion for ordnance. There are strains of anarchy and grim nihilism in the story, deftly tweaked to give the comedy some punch. I like that particularly Nordic sense of humor, but it's not for everyone. If you enjoyed Danish import Klown, you'll find 100-Year-Old Man similar, but a little bit gentler and heavier on pyrotechnics.





Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts



Twitter Activity

Comments

I agree that the vocal work is incredible! And, I thought that the well-made and beautifully-designed set really supported the …

by Judy Dove on Theater Review: Dogfight's Regional Premiere at NRACT Is Rich in Emotion But Meager in Staging (Arts)

In the last 5 years, 11 of the 15 musicals NRACT produced were premieres in the region. I commend them …

by James Ilsley on Theater Review: Dogfight's Regional Premiere at NRACT Is Rich in Emotion But Meager in Staging (Arts)

Most Recent Comments

I agree that the vocal work is incredible! And, I thought that the well-made and beautifully-designed set really supported the …

by Judy Dove on Theater Review: Dogfight's Regional Premiere at NRACT Is Rich in Emotion But Meager in Staging (Arts)

In the last 5 years, 11 of the 15 musicals NRACT produced were premieres in the region. I commend them …

by James Ilsley on Theater Review: Dogfight's Regional Premiere at NRACT Is Rich in Emotion But Meager in Staging (Arts)

Instead of luxury apartments(AHEM Carborro) and new restaurants, build more parking?!(Just one parking garage would help a lot, cover it …

by ammi on The Bookshop Brought Many Rare and First Editions—and Two Famous Cats—to Franklin Street for Thirty-Two Years (Arts)

WELCOME TO THE GREAT BROTHERHOOD.
Do you want to be a member of Illuminati as a brotherhood that will make …

by peter bello on Movie Review: A Dog's Purpose Rolls Over and Plays Dead Under Its Own Heart-Tugging Weight (Arts)

The last thing Chapel Hill needs is another damn restaurant.

by Chrysser on The Bookshop Brought Many Rare and First Editions—and Two Famous Cats—to Franklin Street for Thirty-Two Years (Arts)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation