Mash together the best elements of ‘Being There’, ‘Zelig’ and ‘Forest Gump’; mix in some sub-titles to make it comprehensible for us from its spoken Swedish and what do we have? Well perhaps the movie with the longest banner in some time required to promote it – ‘The Hundred Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared’.
But the banner did appeal to one who usually eschews those films requiring her to decipher dialogue from words appearing at screen bottom – so for a viewing I had the wonderful company of my DLP (Darling Loving Partner) and she giggled and chortled her way through this offering – there were even a few belly laughs. I concurred with a few guffaws of my own. It was a glorious romp of farce and addled history, with a soupçon of pathos thrown in for good measure.
Much has been made of in the reviews of how unrealistic Robert Gustafasson’s portrayal of a man who’s reached the century mark is. Well, I do not know too many of those to judge – although I am planning to make that milestone myself one day. Therefore it is hard for this scribe to make a call on this, but just maybe that’s the point. Evidently the actor/comedian makes a tidy sum portraying old men in his stand up routines around Scandinavia, making him already a well known star in those lands. His portrayal of this escapee from a retirement home has been cinematic gold there for him too. After his character’s fleeing from ‘death row’, the old fella ,Allan Karlsson, accidentally picks up a case load of drug money and the fun begins. He continues his wild flight, pursued by hapless criminal types and an equally hapless cop. There’s some hilarious shenanigans on Sweden’s byways before he circuitously ends up in Bali. We are also given a potted back story of the centenarian’s life on the planet. In these he gets up close and personal with Franco, Stalin, Einstein’s lesser known brother and President Reagan. He also has an aptitude for blowing up huge amounts of varied stuff with dynamite.
It’s all based on a highly successful novel by author Jonas Jonasson. Director Felix Herngren does the mouthful of a title proud with his vivid and at times, audacious adaptation. If you are fortunate enough to view it, wait for the elephant – he/she steals the show. If you’re anything like DLP and yours truly, you’ll get a hell of a tickle out of this Scandi-gem.