Combustible Celluloid
With: Ethan Hawke, Noomi Rapace, Mark Strong, Christopher Heyerdahl, Hanneke Talbot, Shanti Roney, Bea Santos, Thorbjørn Harr, John Ralston, Mark Rendall
Written by: Robert Budreau
Directed by: Robert Budreau
MPAA Rating: R for language and brief violence
Running Time: 92
Date: 04/26/2019

Stockholm (2019)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Captive Audience

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Ethan Hawke gives a barking mad-dog performance as a potential bank robber in Stockholm, which is loosely based on the real 1973 incident that gave rise to the term "Stockholm Syndrome." The robber, who initially calls himself The Outlaw, and dresses in leather pants and a wig and talks like an American cowboy, marches into the bank, takes three hostages, and demands the release of prisoner Gunnar Sorensson (Mark Strong). During the ordeal, which lasts several days, the outlaw — actually Lars Nystrom — makes a connection with hostage Bianca Lind (Noomi Rapace), with her oversized glasses and long, blonde hair. Her husband is shown to be somewhat weak and inept (she gives him instructions for feeding their children that he fails to follow), although he does volunteer to take her place. The kidnappers make their demands, including a Mustang, just like the one Steve McQueen drove in Bullitt. But the chief of police (Christopher Heyerdahl) and the prime minster (Shanti Roney) are portrayed as pigheaded meanies, willing to harm both the hostages and their captors in order to preserve their own positions. Directed by Robert Budreau — who previously worked with Hawke on the Chet Baker biopic Born to Be Blue — keeps things tight, and draws sympathy for the criminals with their bumbling and their small expressions of kindness. Many will balk that the facts of the case are so radically changed for this movie, but its emotional purpose, showing how Bianca could possibly form a connection with Lars, is effectively achieved.

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