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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews In Order of Disappearance

September 10th, 2014 by Conor ONeill Comments

In Order of Disappearance (15) - Kraftidioten (original title)
Directed by: Hans Petter Moland
Starring: Stellan Skarsgård, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen & Kristofer Hivju
Running time: 116 min

Fancy one hour and fifty-seven minutes of intrigue, plot twists, characters who would sit happily into any of Tarantino’s gore-fests, and more blood on snow than a group of polar bears feasting on a scout troop? Well this film is probably right up your street.

Directed by Hans Petter Moland (Aberdeen, The Beautiful Country) and starring Stellan Skarsgard (Good Will Hunting, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), this, their fourth collaboration, is typical of the Nordic take on their obsession with mind games, action, good guy versus bad and every other superlative you can think of when it comes to popular stereotypes we all carry about our northern neighbours.

Norwegian with English subs, the plot is simple, well, at the beginning anyway. The simple life of a snow plough driver’s world is torn apart when his son is found dead from a drug overdose. Not believing his son to be an addict, Nil Dickman… yes the writers did opt for that surname, which comes in crucial as the film progresses, decides to investigate what he rightly believes to be his son’s murder, and so enters a world of Norwegian gangsters, Serbian assassins, grizzly murders, car chases, abduction, torture, shoot-outs and difficulty with his marriage.

The myriad of subplots can and do leave the viewer scratching his/her head a little, but the acting, tight and sometimes aptly sparse script, and beautiful cinematography and landscapes easily make up for these tinges of bewilderment.

There’s a beautiful subtlety and juxtaposition about the dark themes explored and the blinding white of the perpetual snow employed by Moland. There’s only two or three scenes with oaky, smoky and homely opulence lending themselves to what is otherwise and barren and sometimes industrial feel to this movie. Though the theatre was temperate and the sun was blazing outside, I found myself reaching for my hoodie half way through the film such is the psychological impact of this cinematic trip through the desperate desolation of the northern climes.

Literally with the body-count mounting up, Nils starts to pick off his son’s killers bringing him to the attention of The Count, the vegan fruit juice obsessed master of the criminal underworld. I don’t know how many characters die in this movie – I lost count at about eight – there’s a lovely little touch where after every death their names fill the screen with a crucifix about it. One nice little touch was when a Jewish gangster meets his end and above his name the Star of David appears. It’s these little nuances and turns of phrase which bring wry smiles to the audience and at times the odd giggle. Don’t be expecting any belly laughs from this film, unless, of course you’re Charles Manson, but these delightful little nuggets of humour lighten up what is a murder fest with an interesting plot/plots.

The acting is superb from all. Joining Skarsgard are Tobias Santlemann, Kristofer Hivju and too many more to mention. With this being a Norwegian film I’m unaware of all these actors apart from Skarsgard, but I’ll definitely be looking out for them in further productions.

Overall, a really, really good movie. I’d go see it again, though to prevent mild and temporary snow blindness, I think I’d bring my shades with me next time.

4 out of 5 Nerds

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Conor O'Neill is at times a playwright and a qualified journalist. He has worked for the Belfast Telegraph, Portadown Times and South Belfast Advertiser. He also contributes to various online e-zines, specialising in theatre, gig reviews and other cultural events. If you were to ask him what he does, he will say 'I'm functioning'... that's a lie. Best suited to pressure and deadlines, O'Neill thrives on the moment, the passion and the thrill of now, he's only happy when he's watching or reviewing a play.

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