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|Index||11 reviews in total|
31 out of 34 people found the following review useful:
Staggering Swedes, 15 September 2005
Author: david-1604 from United Kingdom
A Swedish friend of mine sent me a DVD of this earlier this year; it
has yet to arrive in Britain in any form and it seems to be impossible
to order the DVD over the web. In the absence of circulating copies, I
have simply been boring anyone who will listen about this amazing film.
'Four Shades of Brown' was funded by Swedish state TV, and written, performed and directed by the Killinggagets group who are well known in Sweden as a comedy troupe. The film is a collection of stories about contemporary Swedish life: the family of a dead horse trainer gather to mourn his passing, an elderly couple on tour with their magic act visit their uptight son in his coastal hotel and pick up an admirer en route, a man tries to connect with his teenage son by showing him the work he does at the pet crematorium, and a weekly 'cookery class' has turned into an encounter group where lost souls discuss their troubled lives. A couple of the strands interconnect: and some people have drawn comparisons with 'Magnolia', but frankly this film is far more original. It manages to be incredibly funny, yet in the end it addresses some very serious issues head-on. This is the most controversial aspect of the film, and on paper it might seem tasteless and impossible to bring off, but it works brilliantly and that on its own is an incredible achievement. This film is quite unique and easily the most astonishing drama to have emerged from a major TV network since the original BBC version of Dennis Potter's 'The Singing Detective' in 1986 (although in some ways it also reminds me of the dark, dark satire of British comedian Chris Morris). It's brave and wonderful and a shining example of what an enlightened state broadcasting system can achieve: Sveriges TV puts the 21st Century BBC to shame.
I visited Stockholm last month and bought several copies of the DVD for friends: but it would be so much easier if some enterprising company gave the DVD a UK release soon. I live in hope.
16 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
Swedish culture through four fathers and their stories., 3 May 2004
The movie is very long and hard to get at first. It takes a bit of time to
understand how the four different stories relate to one another. The theme
they are pushing on is fatherhood. All stories are somehow related to
fathers. The story hands us an insight in the swedish culture and how it
affects the different characters in their unique stories that the movie
tells us about. How you "should" react in different situations and how
people around you react when difficult problems hit you.
I for one enjoyed the movie and i often recognised the characters from my normal day life. It reflected the swedishness in a way that i never have seen before. This I think, is a movie for those who more or less understand the typical Swedish culture. If you like it you should also look into "Ben & Gunnar - En Liten Film Om Manlig Vänskap" which is another "Killinggänget" production.
17 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
Four Shades of Brown - a colourful gem, 31 March 2004
Author: jono_nath from Skåne, Sweden
The English title should be added to IMDb: how can that be done? I saw
Shades of Brown (with English subtitles) in Copenhagen
A wonderful mix of brownish-black humour and, amid the playfulness, a good dose of wistful melancholy - this film captures a particular (and compelling) view of Swedish life today, better than any other film in recent years. The subtle ironies and rather self-conscious social commentary will probably be lost on those who have not lived in Sweden or had a fair bit of contact here.
It's hard to know how enjoyable these four stories would be to someone who knows little about Sweden and contemporary Swedish-ness. In might help, for example, to enjoy the comic artistry of Robert Gustafsson, without having in mind his many appearances on Swedish TV. But in some ways, this background is the main point. One of the film's triumphs is Gustafsson's love-hate light-dark creation of the everyday absurdities of `normal' family life here. If you don't recognise the humour in the use of regional accents, for example, you'll be missing a lot of the fun.
Nevertheless, Four Shades has plenty to offer anyone willing to think outside their own set of cultural references. At least a couple of the storylines are, in themselves, quite captivating.
Don't be put off the title. If you're looking for pretty images of Sweden, the opening shots alone will satisfy. Personally I was pleased that at least it finally rained at the beachside hotel, one morning.
Presumably SVT (Swedish public service TV) will show this gem within a year or two. Surely!? It's a big shame that it doesn't seem to be getting much of a run in the Swedish cinemas.
[This is my first review for IMDb - jono_nath AT hotmail DOT-U-know-what :-]
23 out of 36 people found the following review useful:
Brown is beautiful, 25 April 2004
Author: stensson from Stockholm, Sweden
This is not about the condition of Sweden and the Swedes, it is more about
the condition of everybody everywhere. Still this film is very Swedish and
you have to live here to understand, to laugh at the right places and to
feel sad, when you're supposed to.
But it's very well narrated and director Tomas Alfredsson knows exactly where to push the script, which he probably has had cut down in a perfect way. Still the film, with four different episodes rolling together, is more than three hours long. But it doesn't feel long. The acting is not really realistic (it ain't meant to be). But especially Maria Kulle and Ulf Brunnberg are making the performances of their lives.
There is hope for Swedish film, obviously. This is a new way of making comedy. If this is a comedy.
7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Four dark shades of mastery. Sweden's "Short cuts" or "Magnolia"!, 27 November 2006
Author: ozjeppe from Åby, Sweden
I didn't know what to expect from this hugely popular (and hilarious)
Swedish comedy & satire team, as they released their first feature
film. More broad satire? Well, we do get four contemporary,
exceptionally memorable tales of family pains, generation gaps and
fatherhood, in particular. But it's drama, thankfully, and what drama!
Epic in its scope, as each episode is from carefully picked,
geographically different parts of Sweden. But each story could
seriously carry a whole movie, if expanded separately.
It's dark, twisted, harrowing, yet massively entertaining and breathtakingly executed. Script, acting and cinematography are absolute world class, as three hours seem to get by in a blink! It's four shades of mastery, and easily one of the best films in the nations' cinema history. It's Sweden's answer to "Short cuts" or "Magnolia", if you like, and instantly on par with those!
9 out of 10 from Ozjeppe
13 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
A masterpiece about life, 30 January 2005
Author: Tord S Eriksson from Gothenburg, Sweden
Never, ever, have I been as impressed by a film as this little piece
about four groups of people, that faces a crisis, or many. In some ways
a little like Short Cuts, but totally different, at the same time.
There are a heap of lead characters, whom we all learn to know very well as their stories unfold, and they are, as persons show their good and their bad sides, their weaknesses and their strengths, with lots of drama and laughter.
The closest equivalent in a US movie, I can think of, which then is far weaker in every respect, is the Royal Tenenbaums.
Four Shades of Brown, as the title would be in English, tells the story about a stressed out hotelier and his wife, and his elderly parents (who are traveling magicians); about the receptionist at an animal crematory and his family misadventures; about the members of a cooking course (who mostly talk about their sorry lives) and fourthly about the funeral for a womanizing trotter jockey, who tries to continue orchestrating the family from beyond the grave, by singing and appearing in 3D during the funeral, thanks to high tech equipment that has cost his entire fortune (the family gets nil, not even the famous horse is given to the family)!
There is a warmth and compassion in this film, that is filled with grief and laughter, that I've never experienced before.
Most actors were new to me, except Robert Gustafsson and one or two more, but they all deserve the big slam the film took at the Swedish Guldbagge extravaganza (= the Swedish "Oscar" Awards) a week ago!
Male, female and male supporting actor prizes went to this film, plus a few more, to boot!
If you have the chance, go and see it - the hours float by very quickly!
6 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
A masterpiece!!!, 2 July 2004
Author: mantina_rex from Stockholm
This movie must be exported to the rest of the world! An absolute
masterpiece, with a both bizarre and grim film about four different
stories from four different locations in Sweden. The one with the newly
renovated hotel with the improper wooden figure of an old finance
minister is absolutely the best of the four, odd story about love or
career. I would love to see all four as a film on their own they can be
so much more extended.
Also the unique pause in the middle is something I've never seen before.
Can't wait for the series (if they're doing one) or the extended DVD. Apparently they had cut out a lot to fit it in to just 3,5 hours.
2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
A decent pretty interesting movie, 11 February 2005
Author: bjoernen (email@example.com) from Stockholm, Sweden
Four shades of brown kept my attention for three hours which at least
makes it a pretty good movie.
The movie is four independent but related stories told in parallel. In my view the common theme is fatherhood and how lack of empathy can ruin the lives of your family members.
The film does an excellent job in unfolding the minds of what at first glance seems to be admirable persons (the four fathers). The revealing truth is that they really are more or less perverted by their past, a fact they all seem to suppress and/or be unaware of.
However the film merely illustrates this dilemma, and doesn't teach us anything new. It dares not go any deeper when depth is needed, and could therefore be regarded as shallow profiting on strong emotions. It is also uneven in the acting and story. This could all be forgiven because of some great acting, and what seems to be an honest intent with the movie.
In all it's a pretty good movie that deserves a wide audience.
10 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
Ignoring empathy in family life can lead to sadistic Nazism ?, 6 March 2005
Author: firstname.lastname@example.org from Sweden
During the making of this movie I once caught a statement on television
about it. Something like: "Is Killinggänget now taking off Nazism?"
So, my comprehension of this movie, was from the beginning to get a notion of Nazism. When recently seeing this movie in the TV-version I had this filter before me and it wasn't difficult to see this.
Strangely enough I haven't met this way of interpreting the film ever since I first heard it.
These are the things I found in "Four shades of brown". In all four of the stories the lack of empathy leads to disaster:
1. The crematory-worker shows no realistic empathy to the dead animals or to those who had to say goodbye to them. In the crematory-room in dealing with death and fire it's almost like a cheerful game to him. The seriousness of death and fire is not emphasized by the father and his boy accordingly, in ignorance pushes a button that leads to the disaster that injures his father severely.
Possible lesson: The importance of showing the young adequate emotions. When they grow up they need to know what behavior leads to disaster and what emotions lead to good.
2.The magician maneuvers his wife like an invisible puppeteer. Just when she thinks she has begun to cut off the strings to the masters hand, reaching for personality, integrity and joy, he pulls hard and she is back in desolation and despair.
Their son has tried to revolt in creating his own life with perfection and "good" taste in opposite to his parents "bad" taste. The real problem he is carrying within is far from comprehensible to him: His fathers behavior passes on when suffocating his own wife in his spotless environment.
Possible lesson: Oppression breeds bondage.
3.The father who was abused as a child passes on sadism to his children when he cheats them on their inheritance. He robs them of their childhood and in the end even of their inheritance.
Possible lesson: When no love given you cannot give any.
4.The fathers abuse of his daughter creates in her a ruthless revenger with sadistic aggression. Here the ice cold Nazi-sadism becomes very obvious in physical violence. It gives a possible background and a somewhat plausible explanation to the actions of young "scin-head"-nazists behavior when oppressing others.
Possible lesson? : Can Nazism take birth in a pervert home?
Can the hideous consequence of ignoring empathy in family life, in the long run, be that room is given to sadistic Nazism ?
Very seldom does a movie contains so much. It reveals little by little as I meditate on it. I consider it brilliantly "painted" and the actors are superb. Especially the nice-seeming bloke played by Ulf Brunnberg that turns out to be the worst of all..
4 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
Four fantastic stories in one single movie., 8 February 2004
Author: Andy from Sweden
This is a very hard film to understand. It is four stories in one movie.
Killinggänget have made something very interesting for the viewers. The
characters are the famous, in Sweden that is, Robert Gustafsson, Johan
Rehborg and Henrik Schyffert. They all come and go as different characters
in the four different stories.
First story: A hotel owner and his wife get visited by his parents. The parents, or the mother, bring a mystic man. The mystic man also brings a present to the owner and the wife. It is a wooden doll. Does the wooden doll have something to do with the pain and suffering?
Second story: One couple, one son. The son has problems in school and fails in three subjects. The father tries to stimulate his son by taking him to his work. The father works at a crematorium for animals. He shows the son the full procedure. Accidentally the son turns on the fire in the oven and burns his father bad.
Third story: An old man, died 43 minutes ago, tells a story from the dead. He has three sons that want his money. Who will get what and what will they get?
Fourth story: The cooking club. Four people and one `psychiatrist' meets and talks about their miserable lives.
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