Swedish comedy explores old age

A review of The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of a Window and Disappeared


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At first it was just me and old people at the Princess Cinema and I suppose that’s understandable — films are a great place to find your youth.

Except if you are a 100-year-old man — then you’d probably want to jump out your ground floor window and disappear into the Swedish countryside and accidentally get mixed up with a biker gang, the police, an elephant and $50 million. And why not reminisce about your explosive-filled past in the midst of all the chaos?

The movie’s protagonist, Allan Karlsson — played by the Swedish actor Carl Robert Olof Gustafsson — gets thrown into some of history’s most terrible events such as the Spanish Civil War and Russian concentration camps.

In some respects, it can be classified as a dark comedy, giving the audience a chance to laugh at history’s mistakes rather than sit in silence and ponder them.

There was a bit of a barrier between the audience and the film as most of it was in Swedish with English subtitles. Aside from the English-dubbed voiceovers helping narrate, whenever Karlsson was in America he would speak English instead of his native Swedish. One thing is for sure — after watching this film I was no stranger to Swedish curse words.

Where The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of a Window and Disappeared truly shines is the script. The writing is fantastic, providing information in a roundabout way that makes it impossible for anyone but the audience to understand.

The actors expertly further the nonsensical narrative by being completely serious about their characters’ goals and opinions.

At two hours, the movie provides a good story in fairly good length of time. It did get a bit old around three-quarters of the way through, but the action picked up again quite quickly to resolve the plot for the credits.

For a film about the elderly, The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed out of a Window and Disappeared does an excellent job of making the younger generation have a good time too.

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