Thursday, September 10, 2015

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

This Norwegian film puts an end to the thought that all Scandinavian films need to be either brooding thought pieces or tales of vicious and unthinkable crimes.  The 100 Year Old Man is a humorous story of completely directionless proportions.

Not only does the 100 year old man climb out of his retirement home window and disappear, one could cheer, he inadvertently ends up dragging around a suitcase full of money, teams up with a man not much younger who was living in isolation rather than go into a retirement home, and ends up being chased by an inept motorcycle gang.

The film takes the opportunity to flashback through many parts of the 100 year old man's life, including his participation in the Spanish Civil War, the time he saved Franco's life, his meeting with Stalin to discuss the Manhattan Project, a drunken lunch with Harry Truman, and his time as a double agent between the KGB and the CIA, planting lies on both sides.  Most of the history is suspect.  He goes through all of this like Chance in Jerzy Kosinski's "Being There", effective but almost unaware. He lives in the present.

An elephant in a van, car wrecks, and ending up on the island of Bali take this story to an end.  It is preposterous, totally without subtlety, silly, mostly full of smiles and chuckles, and entertaining at the end of a long day.  In the old and maybe still Hollywood vernacular, it is a madcap comedy.

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