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As the critics said some days ago, when Kraftidioten (International
titled "In order of disappearance") premiered in the main program of
the Berlin Film Festival, this is both hilarious, rough and beautiful.
While giving loads of fun and entertainment, you'll soon discover that
the film has a complex underlying theme which makes this interesting on
a much wider scale.
But still, this is not a film for the faint hearted. That said as a warning, because the body-count is bigger than in any Norwegian film I've seen before. There's no sex, but all violence in this, still testosterone filled, movie with a hero called "Dickman". You can't say it more obvious than that.
Or what about a plot with a Swedish plowman working in the remote Norwegian high mountains dealing with Norwegian and Serbian gangsters in a vigilante film, crossed with beautiful Norwegian landscape and droll humor!?! Well, it's completely up my alley.
Hans Petter Moland always delivers. He has made the great films "A somewhat gentle man", "The last lieutenant", "Zero Kelvin", "Aberdeen" and "Comrade Pedersen" amongst others. All of them recommended! It's "A somewhat gentle man" which is most like this last one.
If you loved "Fargo", "Burn after reading", "The big white" or "In Bruges" this is the film for you. It's almost a mix, though it's a bit more dark and bloody, and has a more serious underlying theme. This is balanced beautifully with giving death announcements in a way I've never seen before after the body count rises.
It's seems like a film that doesn't take itself too seriously, though it still has some hilarious Tarantino-like discussions, mainly from minor roles, which adds a lot to the film. They are discussing the great food in the Norwegian prison system, how Norwegians are so environmental that they pick up dog litter in little bags, and the Scandinavian welfare system is discussed as a need because of the snow and lack of sun. A country where even the gangsters drink tomato juice and drive hybrid electric Fisker Karma cars.
But what makes "In order of disappearance" stand out as much more than a hilarious masculine violent "Fargo" is that it actually is a deeper comment about how men act. Our anti superhero is called Dickman, because he really acts like one, though still being a nice and likable man. Not able to express feelings to his wife, which leaves him, avenging that his bloodline via his lost son is all that matters. Of course we know that our society is patriarchal. In this film it's over-exaggerated, but giving a good comment on today's society. The men are the one's both criminal and the users of violence. Dickman didn't even know his son, and though being a "nice" kidnapper, he doesn't even know how to read a bed time story. The film has almost no affection, except between men, and film maker Moland knows to punish those kinds of forbidden feelings. He also, in more way than one, express that men are stupid, doing stupid things, which almost always has a severe consequence.
This is the kind of film I wish would never end. I enjoyed it immensely right from the start, and it even grew from there. The film doesn't give all answers, but our vigilante hero at least gets to do some "good" deeds along the way. And if you hate drug dealers, then this is the film for you.
Stellan Skarsgård is perfect as the understated Swedish immigrant, just voted the inhabitant of the year in his little mountain town, which is a place we really don't get to know where is. The signs says "Welcome to Tyos..." and then the snow constantly covers the rest of the name. Even Oslo is made as a Alaskan-like ice city, where mountains are put where they usually not are. Our hero takes the matters in his own hands when he understands that the police are considering not to investigate the case of his son found dead by drug overdose in the city. He knows of course this is murder. And he is going to revenge his son's death.
The film has so many great supporting roles, which all make up this story, and I'm sure this film will do great world wide. Great scripting again from Danish Kim Fupz Aakeson and great filming by Philip Øgaard. The scenery is awesome, an adds to the film's sentimentality as well as beauty, which makes the whole environment even more exotic.
It's the fourth time Stellan Skarsgård is featured in a Moland-film, and it's not difficult to understand why. But Bruno Ganz is perfect as the Serbian gangster Papa and I also loved Pål Sverre Hagen as the neurotic vegan gangster "Greven" (The Count). But so many from the supporting cast should be praised as well.
Be sure to pick up this treat of a dark gangster comedy! As bloody as they come, but still with a great heart! You won't regret!
Most movies about revenge tend to focus on the spectacle of cruelty and
bloodshed, delivering a film filled with somewhat morally justified
killings, but no meaning behind them. This one is not like them. Like
other Scandinavian masterpieces, In Order of Disapperance delivers a
deep and meaningful story. In Hungary, the distributor tried to
advertise the movie as a dark comedy, however, besides a few morbid
jokes, there is nothing funny about it. Instead, the script tries to
focus on the conflicts and the person tragedies behind the murders and
the shootouts, which makes it not just a great gangster flick, but also
a great drama. In Hans Petter Moland directing style, every gesture,
look, sentence has a meaning, and this is the reason, why for example
the main character can function in the story without merely saying any
words. Of course, this impact is helped by some performances by
Skarsgard, Bruno Ganz and Pal Sverre Hagen.
My only problem with this movie was that it has a somewhat slow pace, and because of that, sometimes it struggled to keep up my attention, but nonetheless, it's a quality piece and I'd definitely recommend it.
In Order of Disappearance tells the story of a Swedish snowplowman from
a remote part of Norway who becomes a vigilante after his son is
murdered by gangsters. But recounting the story wouldn't really give
much of an indication of why this one is so impressive. The narrative
is definitely good but it's the way it's told that makes this one a
winner. The chief reason is probably its humour. The script is full of
funny dialogue, with characters often going off on humorous tangents
about, for example, why only cold countries have a welfare state or how
nice Norwegian prisons are. The script is full of humour that never
feels forced and genuinely amuses. It works so well because the actors
on hand to deliver the lines are so very good. The standout for me was
Pål Sverre Hagen, who plays the vegan crime boss The Count, who puts in
a thoroughly hilarious performance.
As the title suggests the film documents the order in which characters disappear, i.e. are murdered. The way in which it does so is to display their names on white text on a black backdrop with an accompanying symbol of their religious group; to this effect we have the Protestant crosses of the dead Norwegians, the Catholic crosses of the Serbians and the Star of David for the one Jewish victim. It's an unusual, original idea that is both funny and kind of poignant at the same time. It goes against the grain of most crime films that for sure. The story has the vigilante killing his way up the crime chain in his pursuit of revenge over his son, while at the same time two rival gangs Norwegians and Serbians fight amongst each other on account of a confusion caused by the vigilante's actions. This allows for lots of varied events, interesting characters and much hilarity. In Order of Disappearance is a very solidly recommended crime-comedy, with lots of good things about it. It's yet another recent example of the Scandinavians having a bit of a knack in making refreshingly different crime films.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Quentin Tarantino or the Coen brothers would have loved to make this
film. It is filled with characters from their world, transplanted in
the hellish cold landscape of Scandinavia. If I am to compare it with
experiences that are familiar to the 'mainstream' cinema viewers 'In
Order of Disappearance' is a combination between the world of
Tarantino, with his little-brained gangsters immersed in their own
sub-cultured world transported in the landscape of 'Fargo' the original
with its endless landscapes of snow and the cold that crosses the
screen to almost freeze the cheeks of the viewers in the cinema
As in many other gangster stories tragedy hits by hazard a regular family whose son is killed by mistake for being at the wrong place and time which intersects with a drug trafficking scheme. When the police takes the easy path of declaring the incident an accidental overdose case, the father decides to follow the path of the killers and to take revenge. The fact that he is driving a huge snow-plow will play an important role in what follows, and this is where director Hans Peter Molland seems to make another respectful bow to one of the earlier movies of Spielberg, where a huge truck is chasing a man on deserted roads. The temperature is different here.
I mentioned a number of possible quotes, and they may be real or just reflect my own cinematographic associations. Actually this is a very original and well made film, with an exquisite cinematography based on the contrast of snow and darkness, with a Scandinavian atmosphere and a very Scandinavian hero (superb acting from Stellan Skarsgård) with all the sadness of a grieving father and the resolution of making justice, even when left left with no choice. On the way the film also makes a few painful comments about the state of things in the Scandinavian society, the relation with the immigrants, the culture, the prejudices and the lack of empathy to the fellow human. It is populated with a full world of tragicomic characters, and it is fun to watch. Go and find it!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'In Order of Disappearance' is set in Norway's snow-smothered back of
beyond. The day after winning a Citizen of the Year award, dedicated
snow-clearer Nils (Stellan Skarsgård) is told that his son Ingvar is
dead. Although the police consider Ingvar just another junkie death,
Nils discovers that his son was in fact a pawn in a drug deal gone
wrong (BTW, this is a comedy). Nils determines to get his revenge,
slaughtering first the men who actually killed Ingvar, then working his
way up the chain of command until he finds the man who ultimately
ordered it. One thing leads to another and it isn't long before Nils
has sparked off a mob war...
For a comedy about killing, there isn't much variety in the manner of deaths here: far too many people simply get shot (although I'll admit that death by snow-plough is something even 'Midsomer Murders' hasn't yet tried!) And the comedy gets a little too black at times - it's hard to feel sympathy for Nils when he's planning the kidnap of a mobster's school-age son. But those niggles aside, this is a terrific film with some nice performances - although with his slow delivery and minimal movement Skarsgård could still be playing his character in 'Nymphomaniac' (or, indeed, virtually every other film he's made), there are nice turns from Bruno Ganz and Pål Sverre Hagen as elderly Serb and neurotic young Norwegian mobsters, respectively.
The freezing cold and snowy setting is always going to make this film just that little bit different from others but its story line certainly won't. Two drug gangs, an innocent victim and someone is out for revenge. Familiar stuff but at first it moves along nicely enough with some heavy and bloody violence. Then things settle into a predictable routine of killings and hence the film's title. Maybe partly because the film makers realised things were becoming slightly farcical they allow humour to creep in and certainly in the audience I shared people began to titter at everything from then on. Bit of a shame but there seemed no prospect of the 'heavy' film getting back on track and although the final denouement is fine, I had originally expected much more and the diversion with the kidnap probably not helpful either.
Most enjoyable movie this year in my opinion.
Top notch acting all the way.
Cold-blooded and measuring acts of paying back the karma, and letting the violent justice roll it's often unpredictable course.
Movie shines in many things, not least immersing audience into setting where it all happens. Showing really lifelike Scandinavian way of living and thinking.
Storyline is not something you can foresee. And balance between tension and darkness is chopped up once in a while with tiny gleam of amusement.
It totally pushed right buttons for me and was more satisfying movie than any other this year.
Unassuming, snow ploughing, 'Citizen of the year', a man of few words,
Nils Dickman (Stellan Skarsgård), goes on a vigilante kill crazy
rampage, disposing of those mobsters responsible for his son's death,
because a man must avenge his son... it's expected of him.
...and that's basically the plot in this quirky, slightly strange, somewhat dark, Nordic humoured movie. After a intriguingly dark and interesting beginning, the plot itself runs a little stale and begins to feel slightly familiar and rehashed. It's a shame, because a weak plot is the movie's only flaw. To me, it felt a little bit of a cop-out from the original premise of the 'ordinary man', that he could conveniently enlist the help of his criminally linked brother, in order to get the movie flowing again.
Nevertheless, there is a lot to take away from the movie, and, even if the plot falls a little flat midway, the characters and even the ambiance certainly do not! There is something so charmingly black in the understated Nordic tone that will keep you enticed - perhaps not loud roaring laughter, but certainly continuous rumbling chuckling throughout. The theme may be familiar, but it is told with a new ice veneer that is typically Norwegian in style, aided by the wonderfully droll backdrop of the mountainous countryside. Whether it be the in-car conversations between mobsters discussing issues such as differences between the welfare systems of cold climate countries as opposed to those of hot climate countries; or the face-off between the kingpin mobster, Greven (Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen) and his passively aggressive, coldly beautiful, ice-queen ex-wife, Marit (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen), these little scenes will most certainly keep you entertained and engaged.
The movie is certainly self-aware and has a little laugh at the quirks of Norwegian culture. This is no more evident than in the king-pin's home with its excessive and immaculate modernist furnishings. Scenes with Greven putting 'five-a-day fruits' ahead of business matters again epitomises the 'new world' of the Norwegian mobster. This modern society is put in stark contrast to the 'old world' of the Serbian rival gang where tradition and loyalty, the notion of an eye-for-an-eye, is paramount. Yet, even despite its odd quirks, the new world can manage to entice the old, with the Papa (Bruno Ganz), in the midst of his manhunt, opening up to new sensations on the cold mountaintop, vicariously experiencing the simple pleasures of the children as they ski down the mountain... and so the movie is perhaps also proud of its culture and origins, giving it a proverbial 'Fargo' feel.
Perhaps it doesn't quite attain the promise of 'high-art' it might suggest in its opening 20 minutes, but soon you learn it doesn't really need to. It's a quirky, superfluous little number that will give you fresh enjoyment on an old theme, and keep you quietly chuckling along, clucking like a hen, until the very end.
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