Kraftidioten (In Order of Disappearance) Review

Posted: March 2, 2014 in 2014 Berlinale, Action, Foreign, Reviews, Thriller
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

ImageAt the beginning of Kraftidioten, Swedish transplant Nils operates the snow plow that keeps his adopted Norwegian town running through the other worldly winters. For this effort, he is being acknowledged as the Citizen of the Year and, as one of the good townsfolk tells him, a role model for the integration of immigrants in Norway. If and when Kraftidioten is remade as an American movie with Bruce Willis playing the Canadian-born plow driver now operating in upstate Minnesota, you can see that gag working every bit as well. Sly Scandanavian humor is on full display in this subversive and sublime revenge story featuring a stoic Stellan Skarsgård as Nils going full Death Wish on those responsible for the death of his son.

As Nils is being feted, his son is being fed an overdose of heroin and left on a bench in the dead of winter for a drug deal gone bad. Nils refuses to accept the police verdict, continually asserting that his son was not a junkie. When the scuzzbag that lured his son into the situation shows up at his garage to confess what happened, Nils has all the proof he needs to, quite literally, kick ass and take names. The name taking is of particular importance because Nils has to work his way up the criminal world blindly, one rung at a time. Unfortunately, the message that initially reaches the top rung is somewhat mixed, and the Norwegian bad guys mistakenly blame a Serbian gang that has been operating nearby under an uneasy truce. Nils goes after the Norwegians, who go after the Serbs, who go after everyone.

It’s gruesome, and it’s funny, and what more do you want out of a vigilante black comedy action thriller? Director Hans Petter Moland makes full use of the Norwegian countryside and the stellar cast. Skarsgård in the lead is so good it’s ridiculous, but Pål Sverre Hagen cuts out space for himself as well with his portrayal of a metrosexual psychopathic husband, father, and gangster. Each supporting role is fully realized, leading to classic exchanges on the merits of Norwegian prisons and the goofiness of gangster nicknames.

The body count is high, but for those keeping score at home, each passing is acknowledged with the name of the dearly departed and a religious symbol filling the screen – In Order of Disappearance (yeah, that’s what the title refers to). It’s a gag that works right up to the final surprise that falls from the sky at the end of this gem that received an enthusiastic response from audiences at the 64th Berlinale Film Festival.

Four stars.

  1. Mirella McCracken says:

    Glad I didn’t see it!

  2. Mirella McCracken says:

    but nice review!!! good job!

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