Stockholm is the film that tells the absurd 1973 story that became the basis for the phrase, “Stockholm Syndrome.”
Budreau wisely doesn’t wait around as the film quickly gets right down to business when Lars Nystrom (Ethan Hawke) walks into the Swedish bank. Lars does so to the tune of a Bob Dylan song. Lars is very demanding of what the police do. He wants them to release his best friend, Gunnar Sorensson (Mark Strong), from prison. While money is the ultimate goal, he lets most of the hostages go. Despite all of this, Lars and Gunnar hold onto bank clerks Bianca Lind (Noomi Rapace), a mother of two, and Klara Mardh (Bea Santos). The police refuse to give into his demands of leaving in a getaway car with the hostages. Much of it is due to a request from the Swedish prime minister.
Even though he’s a bank robber, Lars comes off as more of an anti-hero. With so much tension coming from Stockholm Police Chief Mattsson (Christopher Heyerdahl), one can’t help but root for the police to fail. Give credit to how Heyerdahl plays the role but the police aren’t as much villains in this film in as much as they are not nice people. It just proves to show how much of this story is absurd. Bianca is a married woman and maybe it’s because she wants to survive but the bank clerk wants to help Lars get the money. One can’t help but feel some pain for her husband, Christopher (Thorbjorn Harr).
Despite their friendship, Gunnar develops a sense of animosity with Lars. Gunnar will put his own interests first, even if there’s the chance that both end up in jail. Strong’s been taking on villainous roles for a few years now aside from the Kingsman franchise but even though he’s not a nice guy, Gunnar doesn’t really come off as a villain.
The film continues a strong run of great acting choices by indie stalwart Ethan Hawke. Hawke brings a nice mix of humor to the role with a wardrobe pays homage to Easy Rider. That being said, actress Noomi Rapace’s portrayal of Bianca Lind is one that takes her work above and beyond. Rapace disappears into the role of the bank clerk. The performances wouldn’t work if the chemistry wasn’t believable.
The 1970s setting makes for some great songs on the soundtrack. With Lars being a Bob Dylan fan, it’s not a surprise that the folk song singer makes an appearance. Dylan is the go-to musician on the soundtrack! Cinematographer Brendan Steacy gives the film a 70s look. It plays to the film’s mix of comedy and psychological drama.
Led by marvelous performances from Ethan Hawke and Noomi Rapace, Stockholm is a worthy addition to writer-director Robert Budreau’s resume.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Robert Budreau
CAST: Ethan Hawke, Noomi Rapace, Mark Strong, Christopher Heyerdahl, Bea Santos, Thorbjorn Harr
An official selection of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, Stockholm will hold its world premiere in the Spotlight Narrative program. Grade: 4/5