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

"Very Good"

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


With echoes of Forrest Gump and Zelig, this jaggedly funny Swedish adventure traces the life of a centenarian who interacts with key figures throughout the 20th century. But this isn't a heartwarming slice of sentimentality; it's a blackly comical exploration of humanity's obsession with destruction. Although everything is played with such a silly sense of humour that it feels rather lightweight.

The title character is Allan (Robert Gustafsson), who has been obsessed with explosives since he was a young boy. Orphaned at 10, his passion for blowing things up leads him into the Spanish Civil War, where he gets to know General Franco. He then goes on to help Oppenheimer develop the A-bomb and works as a double-agent during the Cold War. Now on his 100th birthday, he's still on the prowl, breaking free from a party at his nursing home and going on the run. He steals a suitcase full of cash from violent thugs (Jens Hulten and Sven Lonn) who chase him, as does a nosey but exhausted cop (Ralph Carlsson). Along the way he teams up with a bored retiree (Iwar Wiklander), an indecisive academic (David Wiberg) and an elephant-rescuing activist (Mia Skaringer).

While recounting this wildly ridiculous romp, filmmaker Felix Herngren continually flashes back to key events from Allan's life, as he interacts with the likes of Stalin, Einstein, Truman, Reagan and Gorbachev, shifting the course of human history in the process, generally without even noticing what's happening around him. Since it's played as a fable, everything is as wildly contrived as it needs to be, packed with coincidences and some very silly slapstick. It's shot and edited with lively wit, and the script is a riot of unexpected humour, big laughs and charming sentiment. Intriguingly, the comedy is underscored with a serious theme about how carelessly men play around with their ability to destroy each other.

Thankfully, none of this is heavy-handed. Indeed, the film's darker issues are almost sidelined by outrageously colourful characters and the wacky gyrations of the meandering plot. Gustafsson is terrific in the title role, especially in the younger years when his face isn't buried under prosthetic make-up. He perfectly captures the freewheeling, haphazard trajectory of Allan's life as he inadvertently fuels or diffuses a series of critical historical conflicts. So it feels somewhat odd that the script completely removes Allan's sexuality from the story, because that might have added a more personal touch. Still, Allan is a remarkably endearing man-child, and the biting Scandinavian humour makes the film thoroughly entertaining. It also can't help but remind us that no matter how hard we try to understand it, human history is essentially a series of random events faced by people who have no idea what they're doing.

Watch 'The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared' Trailer




Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Felix Herngren

Producer: Felix Herngren, Malte Forssell, Henrik Jansson-Schweizer, Patrick Nebout

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

Advertisement
England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.