In Order of Disappearance is a mainstream action/comedy for the arthouse crowd. It’s brave enough to treat its subject matter seriously and in jest, and the performances are of higher versatility than a cast of attractive household names who signed up for a glamour project.
Stellan Skarsgård shifts from a supporting role to a leading vigilante in Hans Petter Moland’s film. After learning of his son’s confusing overdose, Skarsgård’s Nils Dickman begins to kick ass and take names – an eye-for-an-eye approach to his grieving. In Order of Disappearance doesn’t resist showing the audience brutal hand-to-hand combat, but only when it’s necessary. A few fights begin with fighting stances and quickly end with the enemy’s face beaten to a pulp. By cutting over the gratuitous violence, Moland conceives a film that still packs a wallop, but is more concerned with telling a riveting story of the ripple effect caused by death.
Even when the dialogue starts to sound like second-rate Tarantino, Hans Petter Moland suggests that perhaps these instances of self-serious relief could be loving jabs at genre copycats. During a conversation about Norwegian prisons and the quality of the food, I half expected one of the thugs to ask if there’s such a thing as “Royale with Cheese Tuesdays”.
In Order of Disappearance gives each character a cheeky memoriam when they bite the dust, which gives the film heart and humour but also questions the high body count that exists in many action flicks. On a similar thought, Hans Petter Moland has also allowed his main villain “The Count” to be both intimidating and moronic; spoofing the concept of arrogant machismo that is driving such ludicrous plots to earn wealth and power.
On a broader perspective: for those who just want to see the “good guy” punch numerous “bad guys” in the face, there’s that too. In Order of Disappearance can delight just about anyone.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie