Movie Review: Stockholm
Billed as based on an “absurd true story,” the film tells a fictionalized account of the 1973 Norrmalmstorg robbery, which inspired the term ‘Stockholm syndrome.’ Decked out in motorcycle leathers, a cowboy hat and ridiculous wig, Lars Nystrom (Ethan Hawke) storms into a Swedish bank and takes hostages, including wife and mother Bianca (Noomi Rapace). As negotiations go nowhere, the hostages start to bond with their captor, and Bianca especially is drawn to Nystrom’s apparent compassion when compared to the uncaring authorities meant to protect her.
Stylistically, Stockholm follows the formula of most historical docudramas, including a muted color palette. It feels at odds with the humor writer-director Robert Budreau tries to inject into the film, resulting in a story that is torn between a drama and dark comedy. Hawke’s performance offers the only site of balance. He gives Nystrom a wild bravado that slowly slips away to reveal insecurity and sensitivity.
The theme of societal institutions being uncompassionate at best and abusive at worst should resonate in 2019; however, the police and government come off merely as bland and unlikable. The film also does little to explore the psychology of the hostages, a bit of a misstep in a film about a psychological phenomenon. It doesn’t make for a great movie.
Should you see it? No. Don’t be swayed by Hawke’s charms.— S.W.