You wouldn’t think that a foreign movie with an unnecessarily long title would end up being one of the more charming movies of the year, but The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared is a highly entertaining chase movie romp mash-up that moves like a whirlwind and never lets up.
Adapted from the bestselling novel of the same name, this is the story of Allan (Robert Gustafsson) an old man whiling away his days in a retirement home. On his 100th birthday all of that changes when he decides to make a break for one last adventure. Most men would be happy just to be able to celebrate their 100th birthday, but not a man who has lived a life like Allan has. Via flashbacks we see a nasty group of criminals and a suitcase filled to the brim with cash are just par for Allan’s course.
Thisis one of those movies that you certainly don’t coming. It’s free flowing and life affirming without getting preachy or obvious. The focus comes firmly on the characters, the situations, and more importantly, the comedy and adventure. Co-writer and director Felix Herngren crafts a ride with a sense of ease. Herngren doesn’t let the story get bogged down for too long in any place and allows the audience to get swept up in the fun, landing somewhere in between The Goonies and Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s series, but with an old guy at the heart of it. The stakes are silly, but easy to believe thanks to the tight material. It’s a great blend of sweet and silly that gets a further boost from its leading man.
Gustafsson is charming, unique, and has a vital energy. Playing himself as both a young and an old man, we see him gallivanting throughout his life at a carefree clip, laughing when he gets into some each increasingly awkward and dangerous situations because he never comes across as an old man and the film never feels gimmicky as a result. As an old man, Allan keeps his youthful, razor sharp wit and no nonsense demeanour. It’s easy to root for the guy to do whatever he damn well pleases.
After you’ve taken a breath and said the name of this movie, get ready for a smart, funny film unlike anything else this year. I for one can only hope that if I ever reach the ripe old age of 100 that I would have the energy to climb out the window and disappear. Allen Karlsson is the senior citizen that we should all aspire to be, because it is never too late to remember that we have to keep living.