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I just got home from the world premiere of this movie, and this is the
first time I have seen a Swedish action movie with sci-fi elements that
does not come off as quaint or just outright bad. This is a very smart
movie that, while all you see is not fully explained, the right things
are, and it manages to weave different parts of the story together
There is realism and depth (and pain!) in the psychological side of the movie, and I particularly like how the characters evolve over time - the storytelling technique works very well.
I also like Jonas Karlsson's acting - his character could easily have become cliché or cheesy (there is something with Swedish that just isn't as cool as English, when doing this type of movie), but he avoids these traps and pulls it off with class. In general the acting, in its genre, is better than most Swedish movies that try to be this cool. Because Storm is cool.
I heard this movie being put forward as a "Swedish Matrix", and while the two movies differ quite a lot, and the Matrix obviously had a much bigger budget, the comparison is not completely unwarranted since they both tell parallel stories in clever ways and play with our perception of what a normal life is. Storm tells its tale on a much more personal scale, and it does it excellently.
The movie opens with a Matrix-style fighting scene which makes me fear
that this is yet another Swedish action movie that tries to do more
than its budget allows. But after that follows a few quite humorous
scenes in which we are introduced to DD - a twenty-something guy who
lives a bachelor life in a dark dystopian Stockholm and is content with
that; until some very strange people come around, and everything that
happens seems to be about him in some way.
At first, the viewer is tempted to try and figure out what is dream and what is reality. But you just have to stop trying. The entire movie is surreal. It turns into a twisted mind game in which DD is the involuntary player and Eva Röse and Jonas Karlsson plays characters that try to guide him in different directions, where Lova (Röse) is apparent as the good one, even though everything gets very confusing. In a few sequences, the two are even shown as characters from computer games and comic books.
DD ends up in the small town of Vänersborg where he grew up, and in the desolate fog-shrouded surroundings he is forced to face teenage memories in a couple of very unpleasant scenes.
This is one of the most unpredictable movies I've ever seen. There is just no way of telling where the story is going, except for the fact that DD must open the mysterious metal box he's been given.
The cinematography reminds me very much of The Matrix trilogy, but the directors have experimented a lot and that makes the movie very enjoyable from an aesthetic point of view. Other sources of inspiration seems to have been "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "The Game". Anyway, the mix of ideas works into a very strange film in which the directors have made the very most of their budget (except for a few times when they use some really old horror-movie effects). The crazy sci-fi-thriller-action-drama-horror-circus leads on to a very touching finale in which some of the many loose ends are tied up.
I liked this movie a lot. And even though it's far from perfect, it is a very fresh new creation in Swedish film when it certainly is needed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Stockholm urban loner "DD" finds his semi-yuppiesh existence in a
tug-of-war between other-dimensional individuals both good and bad. A
Nordic "The Matrix" light? Not quite; the sci-fi hype or the "world is
at stake"-story on a grand scale (as its trailers really hinted) slowly
give way to something else.
Sure, we have many urban fantasy elements with its comic book-flirts, stylistics and tongue-in-cheek-cheesy characters (and so-so effects). But these are just peripheral disguises. Filmmakers Mårlind/Stein actually open the emotional window on a psychologically personal level here, as the main core of the film unfolds. So the strongest reason to enjoy this movie is not its action or thriller bits. It's the moody, harrowing midsection of DD facing his childhood demons of guilt in his hometown that is an unforgettable and visually stunning nightmare that would give even Ingmar Bergman cold shivers.
This ambitious film-making team created something great with the formidable TV-series "De drabbade" a few years back. Let's hope they still have more to come within the Swedish cinema industry- it's much needed!
6 out of 10 from Ozjeppe
The world of DD is all a bit dulled. He is insensitive to touch and
doesn't really know what he wants out of life or where he wants to take
his career. Whilst pleasant enough to those around him he is the kinda
guy who never returns the DVD's you lend him and he isn't the kind of
guy to go out of his way to help a stranger in need, or to even give
them the time of day. DD is a reflection of society in general.
So what would happen if this easy life was torn in two because of lost remnants of his childhood? Storm takes the viewer on a twisting comic book journey that forces the main character to question his entire way of life by looking back upon his previous choices and actions. Storm has often been likened to the Matrix in terms of style, both of the main characters are comic book heroes of sorts, both are lost in a confused world, but the comparison ends there. There are a couple of nods to some scenes from the matrix (Run DD) but Storm takes an entirely fresh look at what it is to be alive and to feel. Some scenes are very eerie and are reminiscent of silent hill and the ending is quite bizarre too. Essentially Storm questions the intrinsic nature of man, albeit with clunkiness and size 11 boots.
From the plot outline I read I was expecting one of those save the
world sci-fi films but instead what to me this film seemed to be about
was a sort of tug of war for by the angel and demons for the soul of
DD. It seemed to me the character Lova was meant to be an angel sent to
get DD to remember his sins, repent and become a better person where as
"man in suit" (we never get his name and that is literally his credit)
is the Devil, trying to keep DD in his sinful ways so that his soul
will end up in Hell. I don't think anyone else got this impression but
there were things in the film like when Lova says she is sensitive to
fire, that made me think she was an angel and the other guy the devil.
But if you're reading this and thinking that sounds cheesy and lovey dovey (because lets face it the US versions of these types of movies are) then don't worry, it's dark and gritty and doesn't shy away form the hard stuff to a point where you question whether you should feel sorry for this character. And there's no Bible bashing (except for the scene where a Jesus of Latter Saints guy asks the Devil if he wants to be saved by Jesus). And though the ending might make some people think "but I want to know more" I found myself rather satisfied with the ending. Over all I liked this film, it was a refreshing, if not violent take on Angels vs Devil themed films.
Highly entertaining, visually satisfying film. I hadn't heard too much about this film, so was extremely surprised with how much I enjoyed it. I did some research afterward, and came to find that the film has won numerous awards, including the Audience Award at the Stockholm Film Festival, and recently nabbed the top prize at the Amsterdam International Film Festival. Solid acting, intriguing story, and great direction power this very unique film. Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein (the writing/directing team) do a fabulous job with the visuals, they keep the action fun, and tie it all up nicely at the conclusion. This film deserves much more recognition.
I saw this movie at its World premiere at Stockholm's Film Festival.
From the get go, this movie proves to be like nothing that has ever
come out of the Swedish movie business before. At first, I though that
was a good thing. Then I thought it wasn't that good. Then I thought
what I really thought wasn't that good was the movie, while the IDEA
that the movie tried something that was new to Swedish movie
production, was good. Now I just hope that the people who fund Swedish
movies don't see this one as a failure - because Storm, if successful
despite its flaws, might give all the aspiring Swedish action directors
(that I'm sure are hiding out there) a chance, and start a wave of
awesome Swedish action/adventure/Sci-Fi/contemporary-fantasy movies.
Something better than the movie itself might come out of "Storm".
In Storm's Matrix-esquire introduction sequence, we see two characters running and fighting through dark culverts to get away from bald goons. It all looked very good, and Eva Röse proved to be a really convincing action heroine, which all really got my hopes up. "Are they trying to do it the Hollywood way?" I thought to myself - knowing that that would be tricky considering the history of and budgets for Swedish films don't allow a lot of the necessary stunts and special effects. Swedish films, in my mind, are mainly dramas about dysfunctional, broken people - movies that only make me feel bad. Even Swedish comedy doesn't go far outside that framework.
Well, after the introduction sequence, things change quite a bit. Immediately, a narration with comic ambitions wipes the Matrix-esquire atmosphere clean off. The first thing I thought was "Oh, so now they're showing everyone that they're indeed NOT making an attempt to 'do a Hollywood all the way', by stepping off that vibe in the harshest possible way". I was very disappointed, but on the other hand, I hardly think they, as any Swedish filmmaker, would be able to pull off a "Hollywood". Look at "Rancid".
Soon, influences from all kinds of weird places start to show up. As the movie continues, the viewer is required to digest a multitude of different story telling techniques and movie references - all in all not giving a very solid impression. There's the narrator talking directly to the audience. There's the comical flashback sequence. There's the emotional flashback sequence. There's blood squirting out of someone's neck, then there's the funny taxi driver. There's the Swedish countryside, then there's the Cuban beach. There are more something-moves-in-the-foreground-with-a-sudden-horror-music-cue scenes than I can remember. There are unintentionally comical cartoon sequences. There's the raising of the question "What is real, what is fantasy?" which has been made popular lately by movies such as "The Matrix" and "Vanilla Sky". The end leaves the viewer with some philosophical thinking to do, as the movie makers don't give you all the answers. At least some of those answers, I would like to have served.
When it all comes together, these things don't blend all that well. It feels like the filmmakers thought "Wow, we don't know when's the next time we'll have THIS much money to make a movie - we'd better squeeze all those movie ideas we've had for the last ten years into this one production!".
Nevertheless, the film becomes quite absorbing at times. The acting is good - especially Jonas Karlsson was great in his role - the camera work is superb, the production style sleek. It's amusing to see how much they make the old city of Stockholm look like "steel and glass".
This all makes me hopeful. I encourage everyone who has the chance to go see this movie when it hits the cinemas, or rent it when it's released on DVD - because if this movie makes enough money we might see more, better films like this coming out of Sweden. I know know what I have long suspected - the will and skill is out there. "Storm" is not the hit - but it might give birth to the hit. I'm crossing my fingers.
Anyone who really dislikes Swedish movies should really see this movie,
especially if you are from Sweden. It really stands out as one of those
films that shows our potential. We can make other sorts of films than
those that are corny, depicting of Swedish scenery and habits, police
movies, and migration movies that deal with racism.
Bcos what you actually expect when you see a Swedish film is some sort of story about love and family and at least one penis shot. Storm really breaks your expectations without becoming a bad Hollywood alike-make of some tacky action movie - we make a lot of those also (e.g. livvakterna, tredje vågen).
Treat your self to something unexpected and non-typical Swedish. 7 out of 10 is on a international scale, 10/10 if it is compared to other Swedish films.
The first scenes are really tough and you'll think it's the centerpiece
of the Movie because it is followed by the opening credits. It's not
the last time you'll be wrong - the story is complex, but it's not too
hard to follow its twists.
In the beginning Storm is a very expensive looking SciFi-Thriller, interrupted by scenes of party-goers with their superficial chitchat talks, reforms into a superhero saga, makes the turn to some Silent-Hill-Looking countryside childhood drama and so on.
But don't mind: it is not nonsense, it is a story leading back to some childhood experiences, and there has never been a more cumbersomely but entertaining way of getting to the point.
And I liked very much the tough Eva Röse and the weak Eric Ericson, the usual role models exchanged, running through this set of graphic novels.
The film begins like a cheap imitation of fast and violent action
films, but there's more than that. A fairly normal guy gets involved in
some crime/espionage/something else, and you think you know what
happens then, but you guess wrong.
It takes some time to figure out what is going on, just like the main character is rather lost for a while. There is something extremely valuable involved in the box that the beginning revolves around. You won't like everything you'll see in the film (or you're rather perverted if you do), but you'll understand at the end. (Oh, and if you understand the end, please tell me.)
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