“The 100-Year-Old Man” Takes a Walkabout Through History
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Take a deep breath and say the lengthy title of this Swedish comedy out loud and you’ll have its plot synopsis: “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.”
Based on a same-named book by Jonas Jonasson, this is the story of a hundraåringen (Swedish for a century-old man) who has a series of misadventures after skipping out of his retirement home rather than face the humdrum of his 100th birthday party.
Did I mention he finds a suitcase filled with money and gets chased by both the police and a gang of drug dealers? And that lots of people get killed?
Along the way we get a glimpse of his implausible life. He has dined with Harry S Truman, partied with Stalin, helped Oppenheimer invent the atomic bomb, and hung out with Einstein’s not-so-smart twin brother.
Think: Forrest Gump.
Written and directed by Felix Herngren, this is essentially a road movie. With lots of explosions. Lots of black humor. Colorful, over-the-top characters. And it’s knee-slapping funny.
“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” is currently showing at the Tropic Cinema.
Interestingly, the mumbling old centenarian is played by a 50-year-old actor (Robert Gustafsson, known as “the funniest man in Sweden”). It took a lot of makeup to age him. All told, Gustafsson estimates that he spent the equivalent of three full weeks getting his prosthetics and old-age makeup applied during the filming.
But the question remains, what sets a 100-year-old man off on such a madcap journey? Is he simply blundering through life? Is he a metaphor for Sweden’s history of neutrality? Does he always go wandering when life gets too boring? Or is our Grump-y old man simply telling us that it’s never too late to start over…?