Entertainment » Movies

In Order of Disappearance

by Dale Reynolds
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Aug 26, 2016
Bruno Ganz stars in 'In Order of Disappearance'
Bruno Ganz stars in 'In Order of Disappearance'  

This Norwegian/Danish/Swedish thriller, "In Order of Disappearance" ("Kraftidiotin") is one hellava serious action film, with a very subtle -- indeed, quite transgressive -- sense of humor to it.

A middle-aged worker in the snow-blowing sections of any Nordic winter, Nils Dickman (Stellan Skarsgård), married with one son, Ingvar (Aron Eskeland), has his life thrown upside-down when Ingvar, barely 20, is mistakenly murdered by a drug gang headed by the charming and psychopathic "Count" Karsten Petterson (Jon Øigarden). The Count has good taste in décor and outfits, a gorgeous out-the-door wife (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, well remembered for her three-seasons on the Danish "Borgen"), and a ten-year-old son.

But the Count's gang had fingered young Ingvar as one of two men who stole the Count's cocaine at the airport, so he's murdered. The police say it was a drug overdose that killed him, but his dad knows it not to be true, so he tracks down the killers, small-fry first, up to the Count, killing as he goes along. After all, revenge is sweet, especially when it is bad guys getting spent.

But the unintended consequences of his acts of revenge manage to spawn a turf war between the Norwegian gang Petterson controls and a rival Serbian gang, head by Papa (the brilliant Bruno Ganz). Killings multiply, and even Nils' brother, Egil (Peter Anderssen), is caught up in the killing spree.

So far, it doesn't sound so different from any American or British gang warfare movie, with easily defined heroes and villains. Ah, but this is where this film deliciously turns tables: Its humor. Subtle, as I said at the beginning; the kind that never wears out its welcome, by stooping to crude or obvious humor, and certainly not in the screen title after each character is killed, wherein we see their code-name followed by their real name on the screen. After the climactic shoot-out in the snow, the screen titles number twenty or so.

I suppose we should consider the weather, snow upon snow, as its own character: White and freezing, so delightful to we parched Southern Californians. And the crisp cinematography by Philip Ogaard, along with the tough editing by Jens Christian Fodstad, helped visually.

Writer Kim Fupz Aakeson and director Hans Petter Moland have stitched together a lovely tapestry of evil and cleansing vengeance, in a fully humane story of parental love. Would that more of these kinds of films can come our way, 'cuz I'd watch 'em.

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