The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared Felix Herngren
Published Oct 15, 2014It's no surprise that The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared has quickly become the highest grossing Swedish film of all time (beating out 2009's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Based on the bestselling novel of the same name, the film is a fast-paced, sharp-witted romp through history, and though it clocks in at just under two hours, its slapstick comedy and continuous action — both amplified by a spectacular cast — make for a film that rarely lags.
The premise is simple enough: Just moments before his 100th birthday celebration is set to begin, Allan Karlsson (played by Swedish comedy legend Robert Gustafsson, a man half his age) decides he's had enough. And so without so much as a second thought, he opens his nursing home window, steps out into the garden, and walks away. While waiting for a bus out of town, a tough-looking stranger approaches and asks Allan to watch his suitcase. Just as the young man is entering the restroom, Allan spots his bus pulling into the station. He takes a quick look around, grabs onto the bag, and boards the bus.
Unbeknownst to him, the lost luggage belongs to a drug kingpin (played brilliantly by Alan Ford of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), who is none too pleased to learn his money has gone missing. Now on the run — and with a couple of new friends in tow — Allan sets off across the country in an effort to hold onto his newfound wealth — and his life.
Meanwhile, through a series of hilariously entertaining flashbacks, we're shown glimpses of Allan's past. An explosives enthusiast with no formal training, the young entrepreneur has been blowing things up since childhood, joining forces with everyone from Franco to Stalin to Einstein's dimwitted brother.
Though Gustafsson has been praised for his portrayal of a man 50 years his senior (and it is impressive), it's really the supporting cast that makes this film such a delight. Mia Skäringer as the no-nonsense Gunilla is a constant scene-stealer, and Ralph Carlsson as the befuddled cop tasked with finding Allan is an absolute gem. Add in some vibrant cinematography and a soundtrack that's part '70s throwback, part big-band brass and you've got a hit.
Fans of Jonas Jonasson's breakout novel will be pleased to find the film remains fairly true to the original story, while the film's eccentric ensemble cast bring it to electric life.