Featuring a very nice flow and easygoing atmosphere, Stockholm is a perfect example of a good and sturdy timekiller. It would seem that we have entered a strange period in movie history. Considering all the technological advancements and the progress of filmmaking you would expect at least 50 great movies per year. In reality, we get just a couple of masterpieces and a decent number of great ones. The rest of them fall squarely into the “it had so much potential” category. Stockholm is similar to another movie also based on true events, Vault.
And while Vault follows a couple of back robbers for quite some time, here will be focused on one robbery and one charismatic robber. One robbery that made into the history books as the Stockholm Syndrome became a familiar term. It’s a syndrome that causes hostages to empathize with their captors in order to survive. Instead of an intense and nerve-wracking hostage situation, Stockholm opts for a more entertaining approach. This makes it a perfect warm-up movie for a night filled with heist thrillers. I recommend you follow it up with Nokas. It’s also based on true events about a heist that happened in neighboring Norway.
Stockholm unfolds in real-time and with decent pacing that helps with the lack of any real drama. There are a lot of funny and outlandish situations that you wouldn’t expect to happen during a robbery. A robbery gone horribly wrong. If you want to learn more about this event, check out the links after the review. Especially the Vintags’ article with a lot of pictures of the event.
While people were doing what they usually do in their branch of Kreditbanken, they failed to notice a strange man who walked into a bank. A man with a submachine gun hidden under his jacket. Soon, entire Sweden will know that he was in that bank as he pulled out the gun, fired off a couple of rounds and shouted “party has started”…
I don’t know whether the decision to forgo the serious approach was the right one. And some of the scenes could be interpreted in multiple ways. It’s interesting to look at how the director Robert Budreau frames the scenes, avoiding showing emotions or tensions, especially in crucial moments. For example, there’s a strange scene that I really don’t know whether really happened or not, but in it Bianca, while being held at gunpoint dictates a recipe for her husband, a thing that seems quirky and odd, a thing that should make you chuckle. What could be happening here was the attempt of poor Bianca to recover some of her normal life and contact with her husband before she gets back to being in a life-threatening situation. They didn’t capitalize on this moment keeping things light and breezy.
Stockholm was helped immensely by excellent performances by all three leads. As it was expected, Ethan Hawke stole the show as the crazy American robber. Without him and his crazy antics with Mark Strong and Noomy, this would be a much duller movie. Christopher Heyerdahl, who’s Canadian and not Swedish, also deserves an honorable mention. His quirky performance added a special flavor to the movie and made it a bit more lively. Finally, since the story is taking place in the 70s, we also get that loose and vibrant atmosphere of this decade as the final touch.
Director: Robert Budreau
Writer: Robert Budreau
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Noomi Rapace, Mark Strong, Christopher Heyerdahl, Bea Santos, Mark Rendall
Fun Facts: The real Swedish robbers’ list of items is a classic part of Swedish crime history. The list included: “Boxes of Prince cigarettes!”, “WHISKEY!!” (underlined twice), “calming pills.. for the ladies if they get nervous!”, a T.V. with an oddly specific sized screen. Along with a specific amounts of toilet paper and vegetables and so on.