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Film Reviews Psychological drama Stockholm suffers from its own peculiar cinematic syndrome

Noomi Rapace and Ethan Hawke in Stockholm.

Entertainment One

  • Stockholm
  • Written and directed by: Robert Budreau
  • Starring: Ethan Hawke, Noomi Rapace, Mark Strong
  • Classification: PG; 92 minutes

rating

A shaggy dog story fronted by Ethan Hawke in a shaggy ‘do, this psychological drama aims to be a Sweden-set Dog Day Afternoon, and hits the target – only to discover that’s not as fun as it sounds. Working from an old New Yorker article about the real-life 1973 Stockholm bank robbery in which the captives sided with their captor – thus coining the term “Stockholm syndrome” – Canadian writer-director Robert Budreau serves up tension, a handful of chuckles, little psychological insight and a Kodachrome vision of Swedish life in the seventies. The story is absurd: a hapless criminal (Hawke) of uncertain provenance (Is he Swedish? If so, why does he speak like an American and wear a leather jacket adorned with a Texas flag?) holds three people hostage, demands the authorities spring another criminal from prison and bring him to the bank, where all five then hole up in a vault, listen to Dylan on the transistor radio and play cards while the cops put the squeeze on. But whenever it promises to spin into madcap nonsense, Budreau asserts a kind of tortured primness, as if chastened by the realization that this all actually happened to real people. And they seem to be having more fun than we are.

Stockholm opens April 12.

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