With so many films about bank robberies where the hostages might lose their lives, we all have a right to be skeptical about anything new coming out to our nearest theaters. And why not? We know many stories about bad men and women who seek easy money through violence. So, what else, one might ask, “Stockholm” has to offer? Bank robbery – No big deal, right? But let’s not jump to conclusions otherwise you might miss out on one of the funniest films seen in recent memory about the nicest guy on Earth who is the softest criminal ever.
Based on an absurd but true and the remarkably funny story, the film is set in 1973’s Sweden and takes us to the heart of Kreditbanken that finds itself being attacked by a man who barely qualifies as a bank robber. He tries to look tough, unbreakable, and more importantly, a non-negotiable type of person whose demands cannot be disputed by the chief of police or Prime Minister. However, while the world holds its breath in the first-ever televised bank robbery, the man runs up and down to get the most important thing he needed at that moment – tampons. After getting his best friend released from prison as one of his first demands, and sent right to the bank, he waits for the finalization of a plan, the culmination of which, trust me, you will never believe.
The name of our unfortunate hero is Kaj Hansson (Ethan Hawke), the most respectable criminal to appear on the silver screen. He is not violent, caring, but screams too much to make sure he looks like someone, with whom no one can mess around. We learn about his five-year-old adventure of entering an elderly couple’s home with one mission – to rob them. The heart of the old man had started acting out when his wife asked Kaj to bring him medicine else he may have died. Guess what did the robber do? He abandons his plan and runs to the nearest pharmacy to save the man’s life. And make no mistake, he actually did.
As for the hostages, no wonder why the true heist and hostage situation covered by the New York Times back in 1973 is termed “Stockholm Syndrome” because of their strange protective attitude the hostages developed towards the men who threatened to kill them. As you watch the film, Bianca Lind (Noomi Rapace) and Kira Mardh (Bea Santos), as one of the first hostages, begin to sympathize with the robber while Kaj and Bianca go beyond liking each other as they become closer than they could predict in the beginning. Mark Strong as Gunnar Sorensson’s, (Kaj) best buddy and the whole reason for this heist, is as funny as he could get. However, it’s Ethan Hawke, who steals every scene and the police chief Mattsson, who, in every aspect of his character, fulfilled his role completely.
Written and directed by Robert Budreau, “Stockholm” is the best medicine to recover from a long and stressful day. It’s better than a coach, hotter than a freshly made a cup of tea, sweeter than a cake, and more importantly, funnier than any best-written black comedy you probably have seen in a while. The film is excellent, energizing, and will make you feel so damn good because of the biting lines and refreshing performances delivered by the entire cast with absolutely no exceptions. Trust me, after the credits rolls, you will want to watch it all over again, because it made with heart felt throughout.