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Wick's Review

Created Sep 11, 2016 12:00AM PST • Edited Jan 27, 2019 04:29PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Perfect 5.0

    Most everyone gets murdered in this crackerjack Scandinavian noir, making In Order of Disappearance – a long yet telling title for the most assured film of the year – serious as a headshot, yet often funny as hell.

    The dominos start falling after an innocent guy gets mistakenly knocked-off by drug dealers, triggering his stolid father to avenge the murder. Methodically killing his way up a criminal hierarchy, Nils inadvertently causes the bad guys to think they’re being targeted by a rival crime family, triggering a vicious gang war.

    Each murder gets memorialized by a title card containing the victim’s name, nickname and religious symbol. These often serve as punchlines for In Order of Disappearance’s deadpan humor, which triggers regular and plentiful LOLs of the Crime Comedy Variety. Everything is extremely arch, from the edgy art in a fey kingpin’s modern manse, to a Serbian crime family’s pomp, to a spectacularly bloody snowblower.

    Kraftidioten – Norwegian for In Order of Disappearance – follows in the footsteps of three terrific movies. It’s the best of the quartet IMO. Bold sure, but here’s to Stellan Skarsgård’s Nils the Avenger!

    • Fargo is the obvious comparison, given the snowy setting and provincial milieu.
    • The recent Blood Father also comes to mind, given the paternal vengeance plot driver.
    • Headhunters – another notable antecedent – was previously my favorite Scandinavian noir flick.

    Stellan Skarsgård heads up a terrific cast, and is by turns stolid, pitiful, funny and badass as the vengeful father. Given that Skarsgård has starred in plenty of American movies, it’s a shame he isn’t reprising the role in the coming American remake. Instead, Liam Neeson gets that plum part. Neeson is the bigger star, so Skarsgård can chalk up his loss to In Order of Disappearance, Hollywood style. Cue the title card.

  3. Really Great 4.5

    Stellan Skarsgård delivers a bravura performance as the deadpan snowplow driver in a part of Norway where it always snows. Nils is Citizen of the Year, and that’s before he rids Oslo of half its cocaine and heroin syndicate. Skarsgård essays a dozen micro-affects in between stolid and deadpan, a narrow range for most actors, but not for him. His comedic instincts – dry, very dry – are second to none.

    Bruno Ganz is Brandoesque as Papa, the paterfamilias of a rich family of Serbian drug traffickers. How heavyweight an actor is Bruno Ganz? He played Hitler in the iconic Downfall, complete with the blowup after his generals told him the war was lost, a scene that has been redubbed countless times in parody.

    Pål Sverre Hagen plays a big Norwegian drug dealer. He’s annoyingly fey, making him a wholly satisfying villain, the killer role in a revenge movie. Hagen was way more agreeable as Thor Heyerdal in Kon-Tiki.

    • Birgitte Hjort Sørensen – a blonde Scandinavian bombshell – plays his brutalized wife. She also played the glamorous Scandinavian in TV’s Vinyl.
    • Jack Sødahl Moland tenderly plays their young son, perhaps 10 or so.
    • Kristofer Hivju is a crime-family soldier.
    • Jakob Oftebro is a sharp-looking crime-family soldier. Oftebro also popped offscreen in Kon-Tiki.
    • Anders Baasmo Christiansen is yet another.
    • Tobias Santelmann is a stupid mook.
    • Sergej Trifunovic is a Serbian crime-family soldier.
    • Peter Andersson is the rare crime-family soldier who got out.
    • David Sakurai plays Chinaman, an assassin of Japanese descent who considers himself a Dane. It’s that kind of movie.
  4. Male Stars Really Great 4.5
  5. Female Stars Really Great 4.5
  6. Female Costars Really Great 4.5
  7. Male Costars Really Great 4.5
  8. Perfect 5.0

    What takes four words in English – In Order of Disappearance – takes just one in Norwegian – Kraftidioten. Interestingly, Google translates Kraftidioten into Swedish as Power Idioten. Power Idiot. Scandinavians are an odd lot.

    Hans Petter Moland directing from Kim Fupz Aakeson’s original script is a recipe for perfection. Their use of title cards with crosses was brilliant and often very funny.

    One more icy antecedent comes to mind in addition to the three mentioned above: Transsiberian.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0
  10. Play Perfect 5.0
  11. Music Perfect 5.0
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0

    The closing credits deserve mention, as they are an avant-garde example of something that has been executed in thousands of major motion pictures over the past century. Simple and fresh, they display the entire cast at once, more than two dozen mostly Scandinavian names. All the names are the same size, even Stellan Skarsgård & Bruno Ganz. Then names start to disappear, In Order of Disappearance, creating a clever coda to a most clever movie.

  13. Content
  14. Sordid 3.1

    The movie is motivated by how some two dozen people get serially murdered. Not for the faint of heart.

  15. Sex Titillating 1.8
  16. Violence Savage 3.8
  17. Rudeness Nasty 3.7
  18. Glib 1.4
  19. Circumstantial Surreal 2.2
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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