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The Local's Swedish film of the month: Jönssonligan

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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
07:59 CEST+02:00
Film writer Peter Larkin reviews Swedish classic 'Varning för Jönssonligan'.

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.

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