“The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” (2014)
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Allan Karlsson (Robert Gustafsson) has just turned 100 years old and isn’t happy. A wolf was stealing chickens from his hen-house and had killed his prized cat. So what’s a guy to do? Allan feels it’s perfectly fine booby-trapping some sticks of dynamite with a few hot dogs and blowing up the animal into small bits. Allen isn’t upset over the wolf; he is upset that the result of him blowing up the wolf, he has been placed in a retirement home.
As the retirement home staff is slowly wheeling a birthday cake toward Allen’s room, Allen decides to make a break for it and climbs out of his first story window to make his big escape. Allan makes his way to a neighborhood train station. Through a series of coincidences, Allen ends up on a train with a mobster’s suitcase full of money. This puts Allen on another one of his infamous journeys, this time with the mob trying to hunt him down.
“The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared” is a poor man’s “Forest Gump” without that film’s humor or the heart. The movie is mostly in Swedish and shows Allen’s life in a series of flashbacks that show that through dumb luck and stupidity, Allen was involved with some of the key events in the past 100 years. Allan has a talent for being able to blow up just about anything or anybody. One minute Allan is fighting for the revolution in Spain in the 1930s and the next minute, he saves by accident General Franco from a bomb. Franco rewards Allan with a party. This all plays against Allan’s adventures in present day, as he stumbles his way across the landscape, meeting all sorts of people willing to help him, as he continually ducks the mobster’s henchmen.
The comedic scenes in this film are rarely funny, and a number of scenes border on being incredibly stupid or mean. In one very strange scene, a flashback shows Allen being castrated by a racist doctor. A number of people who threaten Allan end up dying rather grisly deaths. These deaths are meant to be funny or ironic, but the effect is more revolting than humorous.
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The screenplay, written by director Felix Herngren and Hans Ingemansson, never finds its footing. It can’t decide what it wants to be, mixing too many genres in, as if they thought it would make the film more interesting. Herngren’s direction is equally haphazard, as he never quite gets a grip on this sometimes sprawling film that wants to be bigger than it actually is. The flashback scenes never mesh with the present day scenes, making both seem out of context as the film transitions back and forth making the film feel that it is full of abrupt starts and stops. The film uses known characters from history to try and spice up the story line, like Joseph Stalin or Harry S. Truman. Most of these historical characters aren’t utilized fully, making it seem as though the script just threw them into the mix to make it seem more interesting.
Robert Gustafsson does an admirable job as the younger Allan but when playing the 100-year-old Allen, it’s as he is sleepwalking through the role. I realize he is playing a man who is 100 years old, but the performance has no life, no energy to it. I did like some of the supporting cast. Mia Karinger, who plays a woman who always picks the wrong man to get involved with, brings a needed energy to the storyline. She is one of many characters that seem to get sucked into Allen’s adventures.
“The Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” never hits its mark, giving us a rambling storyline and characters we never care about. It’s a film that wastes an interesting premise, never displaying the humor it sorely needs. The film kind of blows up in the end, much like Allan’s beloved dynamite, leaving a rather large hole in the story line. My Rating: Cable
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
The film is playing exclusively in Atlanta at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema
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