Director: Robert Budreau
Release Date: April 12th 2019
Robert Budreau puts the team on his back by writing, producing, and directing Stockholm. A dark comedy based on the infamous 1973 “Norrmalmstorg” robbery in Stockholm, Sweden. This robbery was so bizarre and wacky it gave birth to the term Stockholm syndrome. An unusual situation where hostages develop an alliance with their captors as a survival strategy. The movie writes itself, the situation was something know one had ever heard of before. It was only a matter of time until this movie was going to be made.
Budreau calls in his previous lead actor (Ethan Hawke ,Born to Be Blue) to help bring this robbery to life. I’m sure there wasn’t any second thoughts when the decision was made to have Hawke star as Lars Nystrom, a sympathetic and slightly idiotic criminal who can’t catch a break. Hawke is very charismatic and likable throughout, even if he may have some significant character flaws. Rapace plays Bianca Lind, a wife/mother taken captive by Lars. Rapace does what she can with the underwritten role, she brings some humor and makes you feel empathy towards the grim situation. That is until she starts falling in love with the guy that won’t let her talk to her kids.
The main issue with Stockholm is that this film did not need a random love story thrown in the middle of it. Bianca starts to sympathize and care for Lars as the audience does during the midway point in the film. Between this and the forced sex scene (I can’t emphasize on ‘forced’ enough) that was just not needed here. This is when the movies downfall truly begins. The Sex scene wasn’t a pleasant surprise by any means, it just added confusion to the plot. How is the viewer supposed to be feeling anything but uncomfortable given the circumstances? It certainly doesn’t help that the supporting actors in this film are awful with the exception of Mark Strong. In a limited role Mark Strong does what he usually does but with a wig on. So he is fine in his 15 minutes of fame. If it wasn’t for his performance there is no telling where the film would be. At least from its supporting actors.
Budreau may have rushed or forced this one out. There are strong performances by the two leads and Strong but that’s pretty much it. Luckily, it only runs for 92 minutes so it isn’t a hard watch. It just leaves you wanting a bit more because the potential was there. Maybe next time Robert Budreau.