Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared (Felix Herngren, 2013)

After another meeting with the bizarre brand of Scandinavian 'black' humour I am still not sure if it is to my tastes. The wonderfully weird 'Of Horses and Men' from Iceland is one of the funniest films I have seen this year, but I wasn't so fond of revenge thriller-comedy 'In Order of Disappearance'.

Despite feeling a bit 'throw everything at an audience and see what sticks' Felix Herngren's mad, unpredictable adaptation of Jonas Jonasson's novel of the same name remains engaging and entertaining throughout. No doubt a massive hit in Sweden, this well-funded venture possesses more than enough madcap energy to have mischievous novelty appeal outside of Scandinavia. There are stretches where the laughs dry up considerably and some of the humour is uncomfortably inappropriate, but its escalating incidents are eventually tied together in an oddly satisfying way.

Centenarian Allan Karlsson (Robert Gustafsson, whose make-up and prosthetics bears him a striking resemblance to Johnny Knoxville’s 'Bad Grandpa') elects to avoid his 100th birthday party by escaping his retirement home and seeking an adventure like the ones he has experienced in his younger days. Allan's journey, in the simplest terms, involves him gaining possession of a biker gang's $50 million dollars and acquiring several equally-strange comrades (some willing, some not) as he goes on the run and attempts to avoid the gang’s desperate attempts to reclaim. Even at 100 he's still quite sharp and his taste for chaos hasn't left him. Involved is a former circus elephant, the typical dunderheaded villains, a hapless detective trailing the case, people dying in horrific ways, lots of drinking and an immeasurable amount of misunderstandings.

Stitched into this is a recap of Allan's life from his birth to the present, accompanied by his amusing voice-over. It is a baffling, satirical Forest Gump-esque comedy of errors that sees the explosives-obsessed Allan riding the wave of the 20th Century, drinking his way into the friendship and trust of more than one Great Dictator, and playing an evidently important role in shaping the world he still survives. It is these chapters that are the most tonally outrageous, and the least successful.

If you're looking for something bonkers and completely different, and I guess it all depends on whether the Scandinavians are your jam, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared is worth a look.

My Rating: ★★

1 comment:

  1. Was supposed to see this but we bailed. Sounds like I may have enjoyed. Was worried they'd be serving pickled herring at the after party.