Monday 26 June 2023

The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (2013)

This is an absolute delight of a dark comedy/thriller from the Swedish writer, director, producer and actor Felix Herngren. Presented not too far away from the style of Roy Andersson, this creates genuinely funny laugh-out loud moments amongst the much-travelled crime-thriller theme of people finding a bag of money. The o
riginal title of the 2 hour film is Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann.

We have a 100 year-old man who as a child became fascinated with blowing things up with dynamite (cue laugh out loud moments) and because of that, ended up living in institutions, prisons, mental hospitals and in therapy. The tale is told in two parts, which we jump freely between as we go along. It's clearly obvious where we are though, amongst the leaps.

The present story involves our centenarian in an old-peoples' home, fed up with that, so jumping out of the window and heading off on an adventure. An adventure that leads him into the crime-drama bit because of an accidental incident in a bus depot waiting room where he happens to end up with a suitcase on wheels full of cash. The local police and care home start out on his trail whilst the partly-confused old boy Allan (played by the hugely experienced by off my radar Robert Gustafsson) gets on a bus with the bag and hooks up with one, two, three more people, comically often almost leaving the bag behind him along the way before realising what's in it!

In the same present story, the hoods are also in pursuit, picking up clues as to who has their bag, where the old man is (who has by now got his face all over the press/TV as a 'missing 100 year-old') as they, too, comically, try to get it back. It's often dark, though never gory even though there are plenty of incidents which could have been made so! There's a perfect balance here between funny and dark. Allan ends up in the company of a woman who is in possession of an ex-circus elephant in her back yard, which in itself produces more fun as they hit the road, travelling in a huge circus truck to get away from everyone in pursuit, hoping that they will end up keeping the cash and splitting it 4-ways between them! Watch out for Alan Ford as the crooks' boss, irate on the phone to the gang trying to direct from afar - a brilliant turn!

The rest of the 'flashback' sequences are mainly a reflection of Allan's life right the way through from the dynamite-wielding kid to much later in life and then up to date. We follow him into very unlikely scenes with famous people of the day, scientists, American presidents, European and South American dictators and many more, presented very much in the style of Forrest Gump. It's done equally well and thoughtfully, bringing humour to historic events injecting situations which could have explained real outcomes, but of course didn't. It's all fiction which Herngren is having fun with. And fun, it is! Herbert Einstein, Albert's thick brother, is a scream.

There are drop-in parts for various people, often dressed up as historic figures, Kerry Shale as Harry S Truman, Algirdas Paulavicius as Stalin, Keith Chanter as Ronald Reagan, Philip Rosch as Oppenheimer, Koldo Losada as Franco and loads more. Lots of fun cameos for people looking to be a part of the project, it seems. Not to mention Sonja the elephant!

It's beautifully presented, well directed, excellently acted by all and doesn't run out of steam in terms of a storyline throughout. Some of it is daft, of course, as Herngren's imagination runs wild - but nothing seems to miss the mark. It looks well stitched, pulling together Allan's life story in relation to current events and the adventure of the four, sometimes pulling in bits of back-story of theirs too, funny incidents again, Family Guy style. It's a great film and highly recommended. You'll love it, I reckon!

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