The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
by E. Ladd
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared is the sort of film you get when you take an elderly Forrest Gump type with a love for explosives and alcohol, add a splash of Guy Ritchie à la 2000’s film Snatch, and set it in Sweden. Don’t let the convoluted title throw you off; this quirky and often violent Swedish crime comedy is pretty funny. Director Felix Herngren’s film is based on the Jonas Jonasson 2009 comic novel, which may not be as well known over here in the States, but sold 6 million copies worldwide as an international best seller.
Allan Karlsson (played by Swedish comedian Robert Gustafsson) is about to turn 100 years old. After losing his cherished cat, Molotov, to a fox attack (and following his twisted vengeance against the fox), Allan is placed in a retirement home. On the day of his birthday, while nurses and orderlies are busy quibbling over the candle count on his marzipan birthday cake, Allan climbs out the window and goes for a walk, with no particular destination in mind. He wanders to a bus station and orders a one way ticket to Byringe, pretty much the only ticket he can afford, and then winds up with a suitcase belonging to a biker thug (Simon Sappenen), who has demanded that Allan watch it while he uses the bathroom. The suitcase is filled with millions in cash and the thug and his crew, including boss Pim (played by English actor Alan Ford, best known for the same types of boss/villain roles in Guy Ritchie’s films) are desperate to get it back. The rest of the film follows Allan’s madcap adventures, meeting colorful characters, and being chased by the biker gang as well as the local police who have been alerted to his disappearance by the nursing home staff.
The film is narrated by Allan, who reminisces about his life, from his youth and the discovery of his love for dynamite, to the following decades when he made the acquaintances of notable historical figures such as Harry Truman, Oppenheimer, Franco, and Stalin, and inadvertently participated as an international spy. He peppers in bits of wisdom, “Life is what it is and does what it does” and drinks an awful lot of alcohol while the body count mounts around him. Gustaffson’s Allan is bumbling and single-minded, but enjoyable to watch. Equally enjoyable and absurd are the characters station master Julius (Iwar Wiklander) and the overeducated, but aimless Benny (David Wiberg), who both wind up along for the ride.
There are a few sequences that seem to drag, and the pacing sometimes feels a bit uneven, but there are plenty of chuckles and head-shaking moments to be had. And lots of violent explosions. And some flying body parts. And an elephant. It’s a whimsical and silly and weird film and it can be seen for a limited time at the North Park Theater in Buffalo.
Watch the trailer for The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Issue Navigation> Issue Index > v14n21 (Week of Thursday, May 28) > Film Reviews > The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
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