Movie review: The 100-year-old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Thanks to the advances in modern medicines, daytime TV in general and Countdown in particular, as well as the obvious advantages of comfier slippers, people are generally living longer than ever before.
It's just as well an aging population has its advantages. For instance, you can get parcels delivered to them as they're happy to stay in and wait on your behalf; and by living longer, they can babysit for more years too. More importantly perhaps, it means stories like this delightful one can be written about them.
It may well be Allan's (Robert Gustaffson) centenary birthday, but he's in no mood to celebrate. Despite there being a party readying itself at his old folk's home, Allan has something else in mind. He's not quite sure what exactly, just anything other than suffering party food and being song to.
What he decides to do then is slip out the window and make a break for it, which he manages to do unnoticed. He slowly makes his way to the bus station, where he decides to take a trip to as far as the cash on him will take him.
Just before boarding a rude young man tells him to hold onto his suitcase while he visits the toilet. Before Allan can tell him his bus will be leaving shortly, the man has entered the loo. Not really fancying hanging around and babysitting the suitcase, Allan decides he'll just take it with him, so that's exactly what he does.
And so begins Allan's truly remarkable adventure that certainly ends up being a birthday he won't forget in a hurry.
It's fair to say that when it comes to film, Sweden don't often rock the comedy genre. Director Felix Herngren manages to get an impressive quota of laughs out of his take on Jonas Jonasson's bestselling novel of the same name. He's certainly helped by the source material however, as the book is an incredible tale told with bucket loads of humour. Herngren manages to take everything that was good about the book and adapt it admirably for the big screen.
In doing so, he's created a Swedish Forrest Gump in slippers. The film mirrors the book well in using flashbacks to fill in the elderly protagonist's personal history whilst still chiselling out his current predicament. Where flashbacks can often be disjointing, Herngren uses them to good effect, allowing his main character's past and present to both paint a picture of who he is.
There's an almost tangible warmth and charm to the film throughout, but where it really surprises is with the amount of belly laughs to be had. The film does grow to a crescendo of silliness towards the end, but by this time, it already has you dangling from its hook, with a big stupid grin on your face.
The film is also one that is full of delightful twists and turns along the way, many of which are quite dark in content and almost impossible to predict.
A special mention should also go out to Gustaffson who does so well in portraying Allan throughout his many, many years.
Just as Nordic Noir has caught the imaginations of cinema audiences, this film may well kick start Swedish Shtick as a new genre, and if it does, we'll certainly be queuing up for more if this is anything to go by.
And if nothing else, it allows you the opportunity to laugh at old folk, without having to be in the company of any at the time, which can only be a good thing.
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