It appears we have a winner, for the lengthiest film title I’ve reviewed so far on this blog. And so soon after “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice IMAX 3D”! We’re gonna need a bigger title slot. “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” was a HUGE hit overseas in Sweden, starting in 2013. But it didn’t hit American shores until early 2015. And, of course, it’s getting focus here because it was one of the 3 nominees for Best Makeup & Hairstyling (losing to “Mad Max: Fury Road”) at the most recent Academy Awards ceremony. And it’s a daffy, whimsical, little farce. It’s “Forrest Gump”-like, as we watch the main character amble his way through history, with some pit stops at a few important, historical events, touched with a nice helping of violence, and some droll, absurdist humor. Expect to sport more of an appreciative smile though, instead of out-and-out belly laughs. But it’s not bad.
Allan Karlsson (the heavily made-up Robert Gustafsson) has loved to blow thing up for his entire life. In fact, dynamite gets a lot of play in this movie, so it can’t be dismissed that this Swedish production is tipping its hat to being the home of Alfred Nobel (look it up). When Allan’s pet cat (Molotov!) is killed by a coyote, he takes his revenge by exploding the offending animal. This destructive action lands the 100-year-old in a nursing home, and the movie breaks into two distinctive parts. One focuses on Allan’s century-old past, and his expertise with explosives bringing him into contact with Franco, Oppenheimer, and Stalin, among others. The present day narrative, after Mr. Karlsson steps out to freedom through the nursing home window, involves a suitcase full of cash, a violent gang, a rich, big shot criminal…and a rescued circus elephant. Havoc ensues.
“The 100-Year-Old Man who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” is competently directed by Felix Herngren, who also co-wrote the whimsical screenplay with Jonas Jonasson, the author of the novel of the same name. Oh, it’s a lot of fun…so why not give it a try? It’s not one for the kiddies, due to the pyrotechnics and overall nastiness, but it’s a decent adult comedy–that also displays a little bit of heart. There isn’t much ‘there’ there overall, but it’s a pleasant diversion. And I guess that makeup and hairstyling IS actually pretty impressive.