Onto the second post of No-English Moviember and we move up into frozen Scandinavian lands of Norway to find the film Kraftidioten (In Order of Disappearance) which teaches us a life affirming and valuable lesson. Do not mess with snow plough drivers, or Norwegians, or Serbians, or pretty much anyone living in Norway regardless of ethnicity.
Nils Dickman (Stellan Skarsgård) is a snow plough driver who has just won Citizen of the Year and seems to be living a nice, quiet life in the Norwegian tundra. However, when his son Ingvar (Aron Eskeland) dies of a supposed heroin overdose, Nils is overcome with grief and refuses to believe Ingvar was an addict.
In his depression, Nils is about to end it all when Finn (Tobias Santelmann) arrives battered and bruised, asking for money and apologising for Ingvar’s death, saying he didn’t mean to get him involved. Telling him to tell him who he knows and to get out of his sight, Nils goes on to find the men responsible for his son’s death showing that this unassuming snow plough driver is capable of much more darker activities.
Why is it that the Scandanavian countries are making movies that I’ve never heard about yet are so brilliant in their select ways. Last year Denmark’s Jagten blew me out of the water with it’s depiction of a man wrongly accused of paedophilia and Kraftidioten has thrown me between revulsion and uproarious laughter.
I have never gone from laughing about a strange exchange about Fruit Loops, to a vicious murder, to a death so weird that one can only burst is a surprised laugh. Kraftidioten is not afraid to dole out some quite gruesome violence which will makes you squirm in discomfort, but will then take the edge off with some weird out of place humour that will keep you watching this deceptively simple story.
Skarsgård anchors the film perfectly with his every man appearance. All of his actions appear to be calm and without over exuberance, giving this unassuming character the aura of a vicious opponent without alienating the audience. His descent into the underworld of Norway is quite brilliantly done through his understated delivery and deadpan humour that makes him a memorable character that straddles the line of hero and mass murderer.
Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen also puts in a sterling turn as as the villainous vegan Greven who, although unable to discern between Albanians and Serbians, be a “good” father to Rune (Jack Sødahl Moland)who refuses to talk work around his son, as well as unafraid to get his hands dirty, if not his suit. Hagen perfectly mixes a certain suavity and brutality, making him a captivating villain which, while not having that certain edge to make him stand out like the greats, will certainly entertain you while he remains on screen.
Kraftidioten does an excellent job of weaving in smaller stories that keep you gripped while all the main action is taking place. From the names and religious burial type of all the characters depicted when a character is almost inevitably killed off, to the small interactions between the gangstas waiting for their target, to a surprising injection of LGBT issues with hit-men Geir (Anders Baasmo Christiansen) and Aron Horowitz (Jakob Oftebro) discussing how their boss will disapprove of their relationship if he finds out and the occasional probe into migration into Norway, particularly against the Serbian gang. It’s all these little bits that help Kraftidioten define itself against its competitors and make it stand out in a strange yet wonderful way
Kraftidioten promises to be nothing more than what is says on the box yet somehow delivers a much more intriguing story that humanises each character before having them beat up and blown to oblivion. It’s certainly worth a viewing and, while it doesn’t pose too as many philosophical questions as Jagten, it certainly hits as hard in the entertainment department.