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Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, The


Stars: Robert Gustafsson, Iwar Wiklander, Alan Ford, Mia Skäringer, Kerry Shale, David Wiberg, David Shackleton, Cory Peterson, Bianca Cruzeiro

Director: Felix Herngren

This whimsical, if unexpectedly expletive-laden Swedish fable revolves round the title character, a sort of Scandinavian Forrest Gump who just likes blowing things up and has gone through life doing it.

As he also narrates the film, you can almost imagine him saying "Life is just like a box of dynamite: you just never know what might happen".

Fleeing his retirement home, Allan Karlson (Gustafsson) gets to the bus station, where he buys a ticket to the middle of nowhere and comes accidentally into possession of a suitcase which contains 50 million krona.

Gangsters, masterminded by a geezer crime boss (Ford) based in Bali, try to regain possession of the suitcase, but somehow end up dying; along the way Allan picks up an elderly ex-stationmaster (Wiklander), a perennial student (Wiberg) and Gunilla (Skäringer), a girl with an elephant, whose ex is one of the gangsters.

All the while, Allan regales us with scenes from his life, as his ability to create explosions leads him all the way to helping Oppenheimer (Philip Rosch) with the A bomb and hobnobbing with Harry S Truman (Shale) as he is about to assume the American presidency. Oh yes, and there's trysts with Franco and Stalin in between.

All this, adapted from a mammoth best-seller, is amiable enough, with a few good laughs here and there. Farce is the genre aimed for but, like the slightly similarly-themed The Grand Budapest Hotel, it doesn't always hit its targets. To be fair, though, in centenarian Allan's company, there's rarely a dull moment.

David Quinlan

Sweden 2013. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Colour (unspecified).
114 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 28 Jun 2014