An adaptation of Jonas Jonasson’s 2009 debut novel of the same name that flits between English and Swedish, and has garnered a lot of praise from its domestic run and on the festival circuit, but my goodness does it take a long time to get going. The first forty to fifty minutes are so brain deadeningly dull that there are a couple jokes that might normally elicit a laugh or two, but your focus feels like it’s been hit by a sledgehammer so they don’t register at all.
The story follows the adventures of Allan Karlsson (Robert Gustafsson), who is indeed one hundred years old and does climb out the bedroom window of his retirement home and effectively disappear as far as his carers are concerned, but we the audience witness him accidentally acquire a suitcase full of money from a gang of hardened criminals, who chase after him and his growing entourage of unlikely friends that accumulate throughout the movie as chapters of his eventful life are relived for us whilst they are on the run – a life which just so happens to have played an important role in several historically pivotal moments over the last century.
It has many, many similarities with lots of other films, most notably ‘Forrest Gump’ (94) and ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ (08) and the works of Tarantino, but it also suffers from Allan in the current time frame looking rather like Johnny Knoxville under prosthetics in ‘Bad Grandpa‘. It constantly has the feeling of something derivative and a little in love with itself, but it eventually gets going and becomes more endearing and even funny on occasion, although not as often as director/writer Felix Herngren would like. It’s also quite frequently gory, for anyone put off by that kind of thing.