Snow-Blind Revenge (Film Review: “In Order of Disappearance”)

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Imagine a snowy mashup of Fargo and Taken and you still won’t top the body count in the Norwegian revenge-thriller-comedy, In Order of Disappearance.

SnapShot Plot

The always interesting Stellan Skarsgård and his prop du jour – a mammoth snow plow – take the revenge fantasy to new heights in 2016’s In Order of Disappearance. His character, Nils Dickman is about as whitewashed a personality as the imposing snowdrifts he manages on the roads leading in and out of a small town in the Norwegian hinterland. Bland doesn’t begin to describe this guy, and as he grimly approaches his “Citizen of the Year” ceremony, tragedy strikes when his son is found dead of an apparent drug overdose. Problem is, Nils isn’t buying it. And thus begins a one-man vendetta the likes of which have rarely been seen, made more bizarre by the utter lack of emotionalism in the lead character.

What Nils uncovers is an intricate international drug smuggling operation made up of rival gangs including one led by a rather sinister Serbian patriarch, as well as a pony-tailed local kingpin whose adherence to a vegan lifestyle doesn’t rule out cold-blooded murder and rank misogyny. The dim-witted police round out the action and before you can say Skål, you’re laughing through each gruesome death. With a nod and a wink to the black humor in all of this, a nifty plot device signals the departure of each thug: a black screen with the person’s name and a little Viking cross. It’s funny and effective in helping to sort out the bizarre jigsaw puzzle of crazies and criminals alike.

 

“You think you know me! But you don’t fool me, with your fucking hipster mittens!”

Parting Shot

It takes a sure-footed approach to make a movie this deliberately gruesome and charmingly bizarre at the same time. Director Hans Petter Moland clearly had a distinct vision for the material and has succeeded yet again with the choice of Skarsgård as the lead; the two collaborated on Aberdeen and A Somewhat Gentle Man over the last several years. In a film like this, it’s all about tone. Cinematographer Philip Øgaard gives the already bleak terrain an almost other-worldly eeriness and the musical collaboration of Kaspar Kaae, Brian Batz, Kåre Vestrheim, and Cody injects a great mix of gravitas and hilarity, in equal parts.

This is the kind of movie you should settle into on a snowy afternoon when you just want to go to a place where (for the most part) bad things only happen to bad people, no matter how much you know you’re blinded by whiteout conditions.

In Order of Disappearance is presently streaming on Netflix.

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YouTube Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbfkuN_MpvQ

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