The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (2013)
Editor’s Note: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared is currently open in limited theatrical release.
Living in a nursing home after a long and colourful life, Allan Karlsson’s 100th birthday makes him seize the opportunity to escape his current predicament. Silently and unnoticed, he climbs out of the window and disappears. How this is possible you might question, but it’s a good start to the consequential humour of his tale. If you’re sitting down to watch Allan Karlsson’s tale, the right angle is to embrace it with a scope of traditional Hollywood expectations of suspended disbelief.
If you’re sitting down to watch Allan Karlsson’s tale, the right angle is to embrace it with a scope of traditional Hollywood expectations of suspended disbelief.
Presented in somewhat of a ‘popcorn’ entertainment for the masses format, the light hearted ambling adventures of Allan Karlsson are far from the endearing image of a retirement home resident. His accidental involvement in a case of mistaken identities and a suitcase full of stolen cash give rise to the telling of his previous endeavours in a life that seems so long ago. A lifetime of amazing feats and chance meetings unfolds over the course of the narrative, ever building the profile of one hundred years of wondrous events.
Based on the international best selling Swedish novel by Jonas Jonasson and directed by Swedish TV director Felix Herngren, the novel gets a fair treatment and runs as close to the line as film adaptations come. Of course, there’s always room on the cutting floor during editing and time has obviously been given for preferential elaboration on favoured scenes. In essence, fans of the novel shouldn’t be too disappointed by the cinematic equivalent.
The recent decade’s surge in Scandanavian films popularity has been majority crime and thriller genre based. This feature is a welcomed opportunity to develop and progress the international appetite for Swedish cinema. While the box office figures may not be quite as spectacular as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy and American remakes, it’s enjoyed moderate success in a market ready for expansion.
A slightly dry note to the comedy side will accommodate darker sensibilities, but physical comedy is ever present in the mad-hatter capers and ridiculously close shaves.
The humour element is the best quality of the film above all odds. A slightly dry note to the comedy side will accommodate darker sensibilities, but physical comedy is ever present in the mad-hatter capers and ridiculously close shaves. Production quality is on par with a high standard of feature film that mainstream audiences would be very accustomed to expecting. Unfortunately the evidently decent budget doesn’t allow for much of a creative opus within the project. It comes across as an adaptation that has an audience because of the success of the novel and the main aim was to get those seats filled with book clubs and discussions of the novel. Nothing wrong with that, but it would have be nice to see a little more sway from the book’s influence and perhaps a generous helping of invested charisma to an otherwise bland main character. The issue with adaptations is that fans will always have a better idea of how the character acts out the narrative and although this Allan does fit the bill, it’s too tight a squeeze. The overarching thought in my mind leaving the screen was that there was nothing wrong with the book and the film didn’t add anything to it.
In essence, fans of the novel shouldn't be too disappointed by the cinematic equivalent.