DVD REVIEW: IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: HANS PETTER MOLAND / SCREENPLAY: KIM FUPZ AAKESON / STARRING: STELLAN SKARSGARD, KRISTOFER HIVJU, BIRGITTE HJORT SORENSEN, PAL SVERRE HAGEN, BRUNO GANZ / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 2ND
Stellan Skarsgård is Nils Dickman, a stoical Swedish snowplough driver working in Norway who wins a “Citizen of the Year” award (“You’re the most Norwegian person around without actually being Norwegian”) before drug dealers kill his son. He then embarks on a shambolic killing spree, working his way up through the ranks of this drug organisation in order to get to the bottom of this terrible tragedy. All this has makings of an angsty revenge thriller steeped in nihilism, especially with its mournful chiming score and recurrent end-of-scene slo-mo techniques. However, the tone is surprisingly more absurdist, as this snowblinded black comedy is essentially a Scandi-noir becoming Scandi-blanc.
At the centre of the film is Skarsgård’s performance, and he brilliantly does what can only be described as a deadpan hangdog performance. The whole film takes place in this snowbound area with a lot of bright glaring colours, and a lot of people have made the comparison with the Coen Brothers’ work, especially Fargo to some extent, as well as the work of Quentin Tarantino with the gangster characters talking to each other about stuff that seems incidental whilst being involved in acts of strange violence.
The original Norwegian title Kraftidioten (“the prize idiot”) tells you more about the tone of the film than the English-language title does, because as the body count mounts up, the deaths and disappearances becoming more and more absurdist and insane. The film definitely has a blackly comic tone to it, which is juxtaposed against this white landscape. It’s sort of a satirical, wry, somewhat darkly morbid take on the traditional Death Wish formula, with Skarsgård stepping into Charles Bronson’s shoes. Skarsgård does have a fantastic frostiness to his performance and it’s his personality that perfectly embodies the personality of the film itself, which is resolutely Scandinavian.
Overall, In Order of Disappearance is an odd movie that is darkly comic and morbidly funny, if ultimately incidental in the end. But it is good fun while it’s there, even if it’s in a sick, twisted and rather wicked way.
Special Features: TBC
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