December 10, 2016 -- Sardonic humor, bad marriages, revenge, gangsters and a kidnapping all combine for a decidedly strange film set in Norway in the winter.
Revenge movies are quite common, but this one is very odd. It all starts with a murder of a young man by drug dealers. This young man, Ingvar Dickman (played by Aron Eskeland) is the son of a snow plow driver, Nils Dickman (played by Stellan Skarsgård of the “Avengers” and the two “Nymphomaniac” movies). His son's death is made to look like a drug overdose, but Nils doesn't buy it.
The death takes a toll on Nils' marriage and he ends up alone. He finds out about his son's murder and begins to track down and kill those responsible. He kills three men, working his way up the ladder of the drug organization, which sets off a war among different drug gangs when “the Count” (Pal Sverre Hagen), the man ultimately responsible for Ingvar Dickman's murder, murders the grandson of a Serbian drug lord, thinking the Serbians were behind the death of his men.
The Serbian drug lord (played by Bruno Ganz of “Downfall”) vows revenge on The Count. So now Nils Dickman and the Serbians are both gunning for The Count. The Count's young son is also in jeopardy, and the Count's wife, Marit (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen of “Pitch Perfect 2”) is none too happy about all this.
Eventually, Nils' brother, Egil “Wingman” Dickman, a former hit man, gets caught up in the fight when he provides the name of a hit man (played by David Sakurai) who Nils hires to kill The Count, a move that backfires badly. Egil's wife, (played by Huyen Huynh) is none to happy with his return to crime.
There are a lot of dead people by the time this story is over. Each time a character is killed the name of the character, written on a black screen, usually accompanied by a cross symbol, is displayed. There are a lot of crosses at the end. There is some very dark humor in the film. Several funny scenes involve a philosophical gangster who has an interesting theory about the role of average temperature in the efficiency of governments.
This is a deliciously funny, offbeat film about the dangers of vengeance, and how nice Norwegian prisons are. This film rates a B.
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