Felix Herngren’s adaptation of Jonas Jonasson’s best- selling novel is undermined by a fatal lack of charm.
It’s a magical-realist yarn about a very ancient man (comedian Robert Gustafsson under layers of Little Big Man-style make-up) who absconds from his nursing home and ends up on the run with a suitcase full of mob money.
There are flashbacks to his colourful earlier life when he consorted with such figures as General Franco in Civil War Spain and Stalin in Soviet-era Russia. Yet the film-makers never quite achieve the playful, Walter Mitty/Benjamin Button/Zelig-style whimsy they seem to be aiming for. The ingenuous, Forrest Gump-style voice-over (for some reason in English, although most of the film is in Swedish) soon begins to grate.
There are some nasty and violent moments that sit uncomfortably with the fairy-tale elements. The visuals aren’t as enrapturing as might have been expected and the use of a sickly looking elephant as comic relief doesn’t help, either.