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Play (2011)

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An astute observation based on real cases of bullying. In central Gothenburg, Sweden, a group of boys, aged 12-14, robbed other children on about 40 occasions between 2006 and 2008. The ... See full summary »


Ruben Östlund
9 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Anas Abdirahman Anas Abdirahman ... Anas
Sebastian Blyckert Sebastian Blyckert ... Sebastian
Yannick Diakité Yannick Diakité ... Yannick
Sebastian Hegmar Sebastian Hegmar ... Alex
Abdiaziz Hilowle Abdiaziz Hilowle ... Abdi
Nana Manu Nana Manu ... Nana
John Ortiz John Ortiz ... John
Kevin Vaz Kevin Vaz ... Kevin
Jacob Ottander Jacob Ottander ... Pojke i köpcenter
Herman Troeng Herman Troeng ... Pojke i köpcenter
Tobias Åkesson Tobias Åkesson ... Tågvärd
Peggy Johansson Peggy Johansson ... Tågvärd
Humberto Guandinango Espinosa Humberto Guandinango Espinosa ... Panflöjtsbandet
Luis Alonso Tuquerez Luis Alonso Tuquerez ... Panflöjtsbandet
José Jaime José Jaime ... Panflöjtsbandet


An astute observation based on real cases of bullying. In central Gothenburg, Sweden, a group of boys, aged 12-14, robbed other children on about 40 occasions between 2006 and 2008. The thieves used an elaborate scheme called the 'little brother number' or 'brother trick', involving advanced role-play and gang rhetoric rather than physical violence. Written by coproduction office

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Parents Guide:

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Sweden | France



Release Date:

11 November 2011 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Gra See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Written by Charles Charamba
Performed by Charles Charamba
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User Reviews

Shockingly Effective
26 January 2019 | by silvio-mitsubishiSee all my reviews

Despite having spent much of the film frustrated at the technique used, I found myself unable to turn away and powerfully affected by the end. Shot with static cameras and long takes, sometimes with nothing happening on screen, the film makes us reluctant voyeurs in the same way that passers-by neither intervene nor quite ignore any drama in a public place. The effect is close to found footage from CCTV, with the action taking place in the background or even completely out of shot. The truth is that this could be happening anywhere in the world, right in front of us, and we would not necessarily know. The bullies have refined their tactics and each knows his role within the overall plan. The targets are slowly but surely trapped in a nightmare where bystanders are seeing everything and nothing. There is a scene where the victims ask for support from coffee shop staff but are unable to express their fears in a way that invites help. I would predict that most of us would be as reluctant as the baristas to call the police, or as unsympathetic as the tram workers who catch the children travelling without tickets.

Although filmed in Sweden and featuring older children, Play has overtones of the James Bulger case in UK, with the group developing rules almost independently of its members. Even the victims become complicit, calling back a child who attempts to escape, evoking ideas of Stockholm syndrome and horrific wartime collaborations.

The final scene adds nothing to the story apart from reversing ethnicities, but by then the impact has been felt. The story is frighteningly believable and compelling viewing.

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