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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared

This screen adaptation does full justice to the acclaimed book of the same name, transforming it into a winningly absurd, freewheeling fable that comes close to being a Swedish Forrest Gump.

The surprisingly spry 100-Year-Old Man is Allan Karlsson (Robert Gustafsson). A celebration is planned for his 100th birthday with a cake and a visiting dignitary. This is not exactly his idea of fun so, as the title suggests, he clambers out of the window and heads for the hills.

He is soon buying a ticket at the local bus station and not long afterwards finds himself in possession of a suitcase of drug money that a lot of people would like to claim back. The chase is on, complete with an elephant and plenty of chances for flashbacks to Allan’s eventful youth.

Allan has blithely stumbled into some of the key events of the 20th century. Who knew that he was the one really responsible for creating the atomic bomb, that he saved  Franco’s life at the time of the Spanish Civil War or that he was a key figure during the Cold War? Stalin, Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan are just a few of the famous faces that just happen to cross his path.

The film is broadly played and often very funny. This is a great swashbuckling romp that wants to entertain and amuse.

Robert Gustafsson is the film’s trump card. Gustaffsson plays Allan Karlsson as someone for whom ignorance is bliss. He is so firmly encased in his own little world that he is virtually oblivious to the chaos he causes, the world leaders he encounters and many of the horrors that he survives unscathed. His distracted, deadpan manner makes the humour all the more sweeter. He is never part of the joke, just an innocent drifting through history and unaware of the mark he has left on a whole century of human existence.

The 100 Year-Old Man offers a delightful, crowd-pleasing  alternative to what Hollywood has on offer.

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