Movies you might have missed: In Order of Disappearance

The 2014 movie is a thoroughly enjoyable action thriller that never takes itself too seriously

Stellan Skarsgard plays a mild-mannered snowplow driver in this entertaining if grisly piece
Stellan Skarsgard plays a mild-mannered snowplow driver in this entertaining if grisly piece

Since Fargo was released in 1996, any black comedy involving violence and snow has invariably been compared to the Coen Brothers’ masterpiece.

In Order of Disappearance (2014) has more in common with a revenge thriller like Death Wish but the remote, Norwegian setting ensures the cold seems to almost emanate from the screen in much the same manner as Fargo. While it is by no means a masterpiece belonging in the pantheon of greats, this is still a thoroughly enjoyable action thriller that, crucially, never takes itself too seriously.

Stellan Skarsgard (most recently spotted in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again) plays Nils Dickman (yes, Dickman), a mild-mannered snowplow driver in a fictional Norwegian town. We immediately know Nils is one of the good guys when he’s named Citizen of the Year. It’s a rollercoaster kind of week and, not long after that, our hero discovers his son has died of a heroin overdose. Nils is adamant that his child was no addict and one wonders if what will follow could be a profound meditation on loss and the persistence of grief. Nope, instead his hunch is proved correct and Dickman Sr sets out to avenge the murder of his son by taking on a series of violent thugs armed only with a powerful weapon and a burning sense of injustice.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, an English-language remake is in the works starring Liam Neeson. In Order of Disappearance is not a million miles away from Taken but the tone is far more humorous with the cartoonish violence echoing the early work of Martin McDonagh and Quentin Tarantino. There are 22 deaths in all and each is followed by an obituary on a black screen including the character’s name and a sketch of the appropriate religious gravestone.

Some will argue that this is a case of style over substance but the film is undoubtedly an enjoyable romp buoyed by an excellent performance from Skarsgard. Nordic noir and black comedy might not make the most obvious bedfellows but director Hans Petter Moland, in his fourth collaboration with the star, makes it work with wit and invention. There is a frivolity throughout that keeps the viewer at arm’s length but allows us to revel in the increasingly creative death scenes. This is entertainment, pure and simple, and those who can stomach the grisly violence will be rewarded with an off-kilter tale of revenge with a tone that is entirely its own.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in