In Order of Disappearance
- Matthew Turner
- 19 June 2014
Extremely black revenge comedy starring Stellan Skarsgard as a vigilante Citizen of the Year
Directed by Hans Petter Moland, In Order of Disappearance is set in a remote Norwegian town and stars Stellan Skarsgard as snowplough driver Nils Dickman, who has recenty been voted Citizen of the Year. When his son is killed by a vicious drug gang, Nils embarks on a violent revenge quest, murdering his way up the crime hierarchy until he has druglord The Count (Pål Sverre Hagen, bearing a striking resemblance to Tom Hiddleston) in his sights. Meanwhile, The Count mistakes Nils' dispatching of his minions for an attack by a rival Serbian drug gang and kills one of their henchmen in return, sparking a bloody war of retaliation between the two groups.
Playing out as an extremely dark revenge comedy (similar in tone to 2011's Headhunters), In Order of Disappearance takes its name from the conceit of having the characters' names appear as captions on the screen as they are bumped off, something that becomes a rather wonderful running gag in its own right. Moland pitches the material perfectly, with the blacker-than-black comedy standing in stark contrast to the snow-covered landscapes, beautifully photographed by Philip Øgaard.
Skarsgard is superb as the world-weary Citizen of the Year turned violent vigilante and, one misjudged joke aside, Hagen is hilarious as the put-upon Count, dealing with both a custody battle with his ex-wife (Borgen's Birgitte Hjort Serensen) and an erupting turf war of his own making ('It's not easy being me, you know?', he moans to a henchman).
Moland packs the film with a variety of great jokes, both verbal and visual, the comic timing of which is heightened by Jens Christian Fodstad's whip-smart editing. There are also a number of hilarious off-the-wall asides, such as when two Serbian henchmen discuss the wonders of the Norwegian prison system ('Oh, you're in for a treat, believe me...').
Screening at Cineworld, Edinburgh, Fri 20 Jun & Fri 27 Jun, as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival.