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Sunday, March 13, 2016

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

I was charmed by The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (a title I will not type again), which was an international hit (it is the highest-grossest Swedish film not based on a Stieg Larsson book) but didn't do anything in the U.S., except get nominated for a Best Makeup Oscar.

The film is full of whimsy, so if one accepts that, it's rather enjoyable. It's also a strange hybrid of Forrest Gump and an Elmore Leonard novel (those pesky suitcases full of money) and a dash of Up.

The centenarian in question is Allan Karlsson, who, after getting explosive revenge on a fox that killed his cat, finds himself in a retirement home. Although he is not committed, he exits via the window, catches the first bus out of town, and ends up in possession of a suitcase full of cash. Another old codger (but not nearly as old as he is) accompanies him on an adventure that has them pursued by criminals but also gathering lost souls along the way, including a perpetual student and an elephant.

Intertwined with this plot is Allan's story. He is orphaned at an early age, and has a passion for blowing things up. Like Forrest Gump, he wanders through history, meeting famous people like Franco and Stalin and the idiot twin brother of Albert Einstein, working for both the Americans and Russians during the Cold War, and living a life without guile, being refreshingly honest to everyone. He also doesn't have a love life, since a eugenicist decides he must have negro blood because of his penchant for violence and has him neutered.

Directed by Felix Herngren, the movie is kind of a visual representation of the phrase "God looks out for fools." Allan, played by Swedish comedian Robert Gustafsson, gets in and out of scrapes usually through seemingly divine providence, althoug the film is completely secular. At times this gets to be too much, as when one gangster, who sounds exactly like Michael Caine, gets done in at a very opportune moment.

If a viewer doesn't demand too much credibility, this is nice little comedy with a pleasant demeanor.

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