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

This film was previously reviewed by Mick McGovern as part of our JDIFF 2014 coverage, receiving ★★★½.


Swedish Centurion – ★★½

Winning the award for longest title of the year is Felix Herngren’s adaptation of the Jonas Jonasson novel The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.

The film tells the story of Allan Karlsson, a man about to celebrate his 100th birthday in a nursing home who can’t be bothered with the fuss so hops out a window and go on what can only be described as an incredulous adventure. This caper sees him finding a suitcase full of drug money, befriending a range of larger-than-life characters and recalling his life story to anyone who will listen (and – through voiceover – to the audience at home). This life story is also a thing of magic – taking in work as a bomb detonator during the Spanish Civil war, an informant during the Cold War and an advisor on the Manhattan Project.

The titular window

The titular window

THYOMWCOTWAD (yep) takes a remarkably light-hearted, almost whimsical, approach to events of colossal global importance. This could offend or get on your nerves but thankfully Allan is a pretty warm, comforting screen presence who forces you to just go along with things even if you disagree with some of his actions or opinions – just like any regular grandparent – maybe that was Herngren’s intention.

Performance wise Robert Gustafsson (who is a 49-year-old Swedish comedian beneath the layers of prosthetics) does well, but opts to play most scenes for laughs, despite the rather sad reality and loneliness behind much of his existence.

Things go for too long with the clock approaching the two hour mark by the time Allan starts wrapping up his story. This rambling narrative style may have worked wonders in the best-selling novel but here it starts to grate. Still, if you’re looking for a light-hearted caper to sit down and watch with your Dad, it’s certainly a whole lot more enticing than any Transformers-related options.

Released on limited release in Ireland on July 4th 2014

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