Saturday, 12 July 2014

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared

Phew, well that’s half of the review practically done after typing the title of this adaptation of the comedic international bestseller by Jonas Jonasson. As you may already have guessed, this is one of the quirkiest and absurd films I have seen in a long time. I’m not entirely sure as to whether or not that humour even applies to me. It has to be done very well to work in my opinion, and it has to be partly relevant. For me even the most bizarre comedies cannot just comprise of a series of random events for no reason, it simply isn’t good filmmaking.
When a rebellious century-old man escapes form his retirement home on his birthday he is caught up in a number of escapades involving drugs, money, motorcyclists, crime lords and a circus elephant, oh and did I mention the fact that he’s a dynamite expert. The film has proven to be sensational in its native country Sweden, but in other countries it has been met with a much more lukewarm reception. But then again the Swedes have always liked absurdity, and I can really see a cult phenomenon developing around this film.
The set up for the films entire plot pretty much sums up the tone of the entire film. Allen Karlsson uses his explosive knowledge to destroy a fox that has killed his treasured cat. Naturally that causes a bit of a stir and he is removed to a retirement home. For someone of Allen’s persona this is torturous, from there segments of his life are presented to the audience having participated in the Spanish Civil War, The Manhattan Project and meeting Joseph Stalin as well as the CIA.
Credit must be given to the director Felix Herngren, who balances the absurdity and dark comedy as well as throwing in hints of tragedy quite well. It fits together rather neatly despite the quirky retelling of Allen’s past that is matched in terms of the presentation of modern day life. Within minutes he picks up a suitcase and exits in spectacular fashion. Freakish accidents and events follow in quick pursuit. I’s woven together so delicately and meticulously that once again it has to be admired whether you like the actual film or not. But then again it is inspired by a book (how this translates onto paper I don’t know as I have not read the book of The 100 Year Old… you get the idea) so do not give too much praise for the writing of the film, give it to Jonas Jonasson.
If you cannot admire the plot and absurdity do not expect to admire anything else. Robert Gustafsson stars as the 100 Year Old Man Who… anyway, he is apparently the ‘funniest man in Sweden’ which can either mean two things. Firstly comedians in Sweden are clearly thin for pickings and not that good anyway, or that Robert (I can’t remember how to spell his last name) is giving a broad performance deliberately because it is so hilarious that we do not even realise that it is hilarious at all, I’m not so sure. His performance is really broad and not in a 100 year old man kind of broad, I mean more of just being either bored out of my mind or a bad actor or a robot. Take your pick as to which one it is.
As well as that the whole attitude of the film seems to think that it’s much funnier than it is. In my opinion it only appeals to one very strange and unique line of comedy that it only fills fairly decently anyway. but it presents itself like some artistic visionary project. Still, many of the people who looked at the start of this review will have scrolled straight through the rest without reading. To those people I wish you good luck in your serious and conventional film viewing. For the rest of you, if you want to leave the cinema tittering slightly and still just as confused as when you entered, here you are.

Result: 5/10  

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