Take a Drink: whenever the 100 year old man takes a drink
Take a Drink: whenever the 100 year old man bumbles into good luck
Do a Shot: when someone dies because of misfortune
Do a Shot: when the 100 year old man meets a famous historical person.
By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Two Beers) –
Rather than attend his fairly boring 100th Birthday Party in the old folk’s home, Allan Karlsson (Robert Gustafsson) opens the window to his room, steps out, and takes the first bus out of town. Through a series of mishaps, he winds up with a suitcase full of money and in the middle of nowhere. Along the way he tells the story of his life, which saw him fighting in the Spanish Civil War as a demolitions expert, working on the Manhattan Project, taking part in Cold War espionage, and generally traveling the world. As Allan’s journey continues, he make friends with a middle-aged recluse, a directionless university student, an elephant, and others, while earning the increasing ire of the motorcycle gang he inadvertently stole from.
Actor Robert Gustafsson is seen as one of the funniest people in Sweden, and with The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared he has his coming out party with the rest of the world. This sensitive, quirky, decades-spanning movie has been quite accurately compared to Forrest Gump in the way its simple-philosophied character seemingly single-handedly changed history at every turn in his life, all without really knowing what he was doing. What elevates this beyond Gump is the fact that this is played more for comedy and less for bald sentimentalism. Allan Karlsson has the most basic motivations for his actions, almost solely driven by his interest in making things blow up.
Things blowing up are a beautiful thing…
The film’s sense of humor is very farcical, with most of the comedy coming from the errors of bad people, and the uncanny good luck of the main character Allan. Director/Writer Felix Herngren ensures the pace of the film moves along, seamlessly transitioning between the flashback story and the one taking place in the present, with each flashback having a purpose to move along the larger story. The editing of the film deserves much credit for its expert timing. The audience never quite is able to guess the big twists before they happen.
Special bonus points to casting Alan Ford as the British crime boss. Ford is the kind of actor who seems born to play dirty-mouthed bastards, and as “Pim”, he portrays just the right amount of menace. He also had a great role in the Norwegian series Lilyhammer recently; perhaps Scandinavian cinema loves a good old British accent?
Alan Ford: badass through the ages
The only real flaw to this movie is that you never really get a sense that the main character is in any danger. Because of that, there isn’t much dramatic tension in moments that are supposed to be suspenseful. Allan Karlsson’s incredible luck is established far too early. Fortunately, the humor of the characters and the good-natured rousing fun of the story is more than enough to sustain the film, if perhaps it doesn’t elevate it as highly as it aspires.
One of the strongest comedies I’ve seen in recent memory. This, along with What We Do in the Shadows, are in a dead heat in my book for the best 2015 comedy release.