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Overall Rating
3.54

Awesome46.15%
Worth A Look: 7.69%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad46.15%
Total Crap: 0%

2 reviews, 1 rating



100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, The
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by Jay Seaver

"Legitimately (and literally) dynamite."
5 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2014 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Sometimes you see a movie and don't realize what it was missing until decades later, when someone else tries something similar but with an added extra ingredient. Such is the case with "The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared", which demonstrates how "Forrest Gump" and "Zelig" could have been much better movies if their title characters had really liked to blow things up.

Allan Karlsson (Robert Gustafsson) is still at it at 99, when he uses dynamite to deal with the fox who attacked his cat Molotov. That gets him put in a retirement home, although he walls out on his hundredth birthday, and into an accidental adventure that eventually involves a biker gang, bored retiree Julius (Iwar Wiklander), perpetual student Benny (David Wiberg), animal rights stalwart Gunilla (Mia Skäringer), and her elephant. This is not exactly new for him, of course; his long life and love of explosives has taken him to the Spanish Civil War, the Manhattan Project, a Soviet gulag with Herbert Einstein (David Shackleton) - Albert's rather dim brother - and a career in espionage as a double agent.

In some ways, it's two movies about about roughly the same thing - a guy who is kind of detached from the world, loves blowing things up, and sort of stumbles into misadventures as opposed to initiating them deliberately. They do, eventually, tie together, and on reflection, may even all be part of the same elaborate Rube Goldberg machine that leads up to some huge laughs in the end as things spiral into absurdity that is often literally explosive. Director Felix Herngren and co-writer Hans Ingemansson (adapting a novel by Jonas Jonasson) play it with a light enough touch that it feels more like funny coincidence than destiny or master plan that the audience is supposed to be impressed by.

It's not all build-up to a big payoff, though - this is a flat-out hilarious movie throughout, from that fox getting more than what's coming to it to the way a character exits toward the finale. It is very much the sort of comedy where much of the humor comes from people meeting unfortunate ends, albeit generally in a dry, silly way that is absurd without seeming bloodthirsty, but it's also filled with general oddity, sequences where moving the pieces into place generates nearly as many laughs as them finally lined up, and funny exaggerations of history. Karl is often played as a rather passive character, but there's a tremendously funny bit of ongoing banter as he tries to explain an escape plan to the phenomenally stupid Einstein. Plus, just about any funny situation can be made even better with the addition of either high explosives, an elephant, or a man so old that he is just past giving a damn.

It helps to have a pretty great cast selling it. Robert Gustafsson is actually a really impressive comedy chameleon here; he's got good make-up jobs to work with, but he's a little more scattered and out of it to emphasize Allan's age in the present-day segments while still being the same kind of in-his-own-head throughout the movie (side note: the festival DCP had another actor doing English-language narration, and since it was noted in the subtitles rather than the actual credits, I presume the film is localized like that outside of Sweden). While David Shackleton's Einstein is the best scene-stealer in the past - though Manuel Dubra works what is basically one great, mean joke to perfection as a would-be Spanish revolutionary - the whole crew in the present is fairly fantastic: Iwar Wiklander is a progressively more devil-may-care Julius as the movie goes on, David Wiberg is amusingly nervous as Benny with Mia Skäringer a good balance as Gunilla, the whole biker gang is hilarious, and Ralph Carlsson makes an exceptional balance is the ever-more-perplexed cop investigating what at first seems like a trivial case that transmutes into something bizarre.

Really, everybody does their jobs well, and that's important, because it's not just a matter of whether this kind of humor is your thing or not. That just indicates whether you can enjoy it or not. This one made me laugh hard, nearly constantly; it's a legitimately great comedy, going for the huge laugh when getting the audience to crack a smile might have been considered success.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=27341&reviewer=371
originally posted: 08/04/14 15:12:00
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2014 Berlin Film Festival For more in the 2014 Berlin Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2014 Seattle International Film Festival For more in the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2014 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the 2014 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2014 Chicago International Film Festival For more in the 2014 Chicago International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2015 Palm Springs Film Festival For more in the 2015 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

12/13/15 Roger Hartley Rob Gonsalves 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  08-May-2015 (R)

UK
  04-Jul-2014 (15)

Australia
  08-May-2015




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