Bil’s rating (out of 5): Academy Awards 2015.. / / / / / , . , , , , , , , , , , , . Screenplay by , , based on the novel by . Cinematography by . Produced by , Felix Herngren, , . Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .
Allen Karlsson has reached the impressive age of a whole century but, when the nurse at his retirement home enters his room with a birthday cake melting under a hundred candles, she finds he is no longer there. Karlsson (played by ) has leaped out the window of his room and gone in search of adventure, which we learn through the flashbacks peppered throughout this highly entertaining comedy is nothing new for him. Born to a taciturn mother who taught him to believe that life is not what you make it but what it wants to make of you, Karlsson has lived the life of a Swedish Forrest Gump, surviving great moments of history through his plucky inability to not look too closely at the situations he finds himself in, from dancing with Franco to his years in the Gulag to his contribution to the Manhattan Project; he befriends great figures of history while looking for his next drink, trying to figure out how to take a leak without getting any on himself, and, most important, figuring out how to create a bigger boom. As a child, Karlsson developed an obsession with making things explode, and his talent with doing so has guided every movement of his life. At one hundred, his blithe ignorance of practicality has put him on yet another journey, begun when a furious skinhead asks him to watch his suitcase at a train station while he goes to the bathroom and Karlsson, barely paying attention, takes the bag with him and gets on a bus to another town. The suitcase turns out to be a payload belonging to a drug dealer who will stop at nothing to get it back, and our hero picks up three new friends and a very charming pet elephant named Sonja while avoiding this danger. The plot sounds like it is overcrowded with incident, but the pace and rhythm is kept in line by Felix Herngren’s expert direction, who creates a light and effortless sense of the capricious whims of a universe bent on keeping our hero out of the worst possible trouble, and in doing so induces a consistent giggle throughout the process.