Peter Larkin reviews Oscar-nominated 'A Man Called Ove' (2015), directed by Hannes Holm."/> Peter Larkin reviews Oscar-nominated 'A Man Called Ove' (2015), directed by Hannes Holm." />
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REVIEW

The Local’s Swedish film of the month: A Man Called Ove

Film writer Peter Larkin reviews Oscar-nominated 'A Man Called Ove' (2015), directed by Hannes Holm.

The Local's Swedish film of the month: A Man Called Ove
The cast of 'A Man Called Ove'. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Rolf Lassgård plays Ove, a bitter man in his sixties failing to find meaning in his life after his wife has died. Hannes Holm’s film is based on Fredrik Backman's popular novel En man som heter Ove (2012). Holm films a very grey Trollhättan housing complex which occasionally has a blue sky or the sun seeping through.

The film is a dark comedy as Ove, having been fired from his job attempts suicide only be repeatedly interrupted by an Iranian-Swedish woman Parvaneh (Bahar Pars) and her family among other neighbours.

Ove in present day is a man out of touch with his community with his endless rules and regulations of the housing area. Lassgård’s performance is an essential ingredient for the film with his broad build and his almost constant scowling at the many people he comes across.

Watch the trailer here:

Perhaps the biggest laughs in the film are when Ove returns a rope to a hardware store in a rage after it failed to do what he wanted, ‘who makes these ropes anyway? Amateurs I tells ya’ or words to that effect.

Another big laugh is when Ove encounters a clown with big shoes who won’t return Ove’s five-kronor coin after using it for a magic trick.

READ ALSO: More articles about 'A Man Called Ove'

Rolf Lassgård as the character Ove. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

A Man Called Ove was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Makeup and Hairstyling at this year's Oscars. It also won Best European Comedy at the European Film Awards and at the Guldbagge Awards (Sweden’s Oscar equivalent) it won the Audience Award, Best Actor and Best Makeup.

The film awaits a July release in my home country of Ireland where it will no doubt delight and move audiences. A man out of touch with society in general and his often politically incorrect remarks have amused audiences around the world. The audience are given the opportunity to emphasize with Ove’s character as flashbacks reveal how often he was unlucky in life.

Peter Larkin is an Irish film writer currently based in Sweden. Read his blog here.

READ ALSO: The Local's Swedish film of the month, March

READ ALSO: 30 Swedish films you must see before you die

MOVIE

The Local’s Swedish film of the month: Jönssonligan

Film writer Peter Larkin reviews Swedish classic 'Varning för Jönssonligan'.

The Local's Swedish film of the month: Jönssonligan
Gösta Ekman as Sickan in one of the other Jönssonligan films, 'Jönssonligan gets Gold Fever' (1984). Photo: SF

Legendary Swedish actor Gösta Ekman passed away earlier this year. One of his best known roles was as criminal mastermind Charles Ingvar 'Sickan' Jönsson.

Nine Jönssonligan films have been made between 1981 and 2015. Ekman starred as Sickan in the first four films. The films are based on an original Danish film series (The Olsen-Gang).

The first Swedish film was 'Varning för Jönssonligan' (1981, international title: 'Beware of the Johnson Gang').

Ragnar Grippe's light and thoughtful piano theme sets the audience up for what is an enjoyable film very much of its time. 

Sickan and his chums Rocky (Nils Brandt) and Ragnar (Ulf Brunnberg) plan revenge on villainous businessman Wall-Enberg (Per Grunden). It's innocent and fun, and no doubt very nostalgic for many Swedes looking back at the Stockholm society of the 1980s.

Ekman's brilliant comic timing is displayed in many scenes, such as his failed escape attempts from crime scenes. Brunnberg's lean figure stands in between the madness while he comments and cringes at certain moments. Brandt's physical strength is put to hilarious use as he blocks a villain from exiting a shed door.

Brandt, Brunnberg and Ekman together make a fantastic team as they scheme very elaborate plans to crack safes masterminded by Sickan. Ekman has great fun in the role.

Peter Larkin is an Irish film writer currently based in Sweden. Read his blog here.