Stockholm (Robert Budreau, 2018): Canada, USA

Reviewed by William Geare. Viewed at the 2019 Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Robert Budreau’s Stockholm is the story of the infamous hostage crisis that took place in  Stockholm 1973. With an all-star cast that includes Noomi Rapace, Ethan Hawke, and Mark Strong, the film is a faithful retelling of the ridiculous event that highlights the overtly comedic elements of the event and finds its strength in doing so. All of the action scenes are played for laughs, and the fact that it all really happened only makes the cartoonish aspects even more hilarious.

Rapace leads the cast as  Bianca Lind, a lowly bank employee who is taken hostage by two criminals. The film is meant to show the origins of the term “Stockholm syndrome”, as Lind begins to fall for her captor, Lars Nystrom (Ethan Hawke), a Bob Dylan loving bank robber who fancies himself somewhat of a cowboy. Hawke relishes his role, chewing up the scenery with his charisma. It’s a surprising and unusual role for him, and he executes it brilliantly. Unfortunately, the other lead actors, while serviceable, all feel like they are stuck in treaded territory. Rapace, who I find to be one of the best actresses working right now, feels wasted on a rather one note character. She does a good job with what she’s given, but the unrealized potential is painfully apparent. Strong is the weakest of the cast, delivering a hammy performance that, while funny at times, was never quite believable. But the breakout star of the film is Christopher Heyerdahl, who plays the supporting role of the obsessive and unpredictable Chief Mattsson. The energy he brings to the character creates some of the most entertaining sequences in the film.

Stockholm is a film that was quite an enjoyable ride while watching it, but after letting it sit for a while, it leaves little impression. It’s fun, exciting, and amusing, but ultimately somewhat disposable.

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