In Order of Disappearance – ★ ★ ★ ½ DVD Review
On the evening that Nils Dickman (Stellan Skarsgård) accepts a citizenship award, his son is murdered after becoming involved with a vegan gangster called “the Count” (Pål Sverre Hagen). Nils had dutifully plowed the roads of his small town after immigrating to Norway from Sweden, but now finds himself plowing through an escalating gang war as he seeks revenge for his son’s death by killing his way to the top of the criminal mountain.
Nils’ wife leaves him as she struggles with the depression brought on by the death of their son. Alone, Nils beats up and shoots low level gang members as he tries to discover who was behind his son’s death, eventually turning to his brother (Peter Andersson), a former gangster himself who points him in the direction of the Count. The Count doesn’t have it easy either though, he sees his operatives being killed and assumes it’s a turf war with a Serbian gangster named Papa (Bruno Ganz), with whom he had previously had agreed to split the town’s drug trade 50/50 to avoid violence. He’s also fighting with his ex-wife over visitation times and the raising their son. As the Serbians move into town to fight the Count, the bodies start piling up, and the Count’s son is about to be kidnapped by the Serbians and held hostage for the final reckoning in the film’s climax. Of course the boy is kidnapped by Nils before the Serbians could get him, but there is still a final reckoning. Remember that Nils is a grief-stricken father, so he actually takes care of the boy, keeping him safe and shielding him from the violence of his father’s world. This was a very well done film on so many levels. There was action, there was suspense, there was drama and even heart. There was also a lot of extremely black and extraordinarily dry humour. Each time a character is killed, there was an “in memoriam” style card on screen, with a logo to represent their allegiance in the story, which was a nice touch I thought.
Nils was actually a very relatable character for someone taking out gangland style justice, which speaks to the skill of Stellan Skarsgård. He expertly balances Nils’ violent side and at the same time his vulnerable side. The character has probably never been in a fight but is going up against seasoned killers and criminals. The film does a great job showing how easily an average person can turn into a systematic and determined revenge-seeker. Aside from Skarsgård, there were quite a few other recognizable actors. Pål Sverre Hagen was quite humorous as the Count but he also played Thor Heyerdahl in Kon-Tiki and was in The Last King (which I’ve recently watched and will review soon) which starred Kristofer Hivju as Torstein and Jakob Oftebro as Skjervald who were also both in this film. Peter Andersson played Nils’ brother Egil was Nils Bjurman in the original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo films, and German actor Bruno Ganz has been in lots of things (Remember, Night Train to Lisbon, Unknown, The Reader, Downfall, Manchurian Candidate to name a few…). The scenery and setting were wonderful, I really rather enjoyed this one. If you are in the mood for a foreign language crime drama with quite a bit of a dark humour, give this one a try.
Bottom Line: We know this in Canada, but In Order of Disappearance reminds the rest of the world that you don’t mess with the snowplow guy….though Nils was less likely to block your driveway than he was to plow your car over a cliff…
Posted on 17-05-27, in 3.5 Star, Movie Reviews and tagged Bruno Ganz, foreign film, Kristofer Hivju, Norway, Pål Sverre Hagen, Peter Andersson, snow plow, snowplow, Stellan Skarsgård. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.