(director/writer: Robert Budreau; screenwriter: based on the 1974 New Yorker article “The Bank Drama” by Daniel Lang; cinematographer: Brendan Stency; editor: Richard Comeau; music: Steve London; cast: Mark Strong (Gunnar Sorensson), Noomi Rapace (Bianca Lind), Ethan Hawke (Kai Hannson/Lars Nystrom), John Ralston (Detective), Christopher Heyerdahl (Chief of Police), Bea Santos (Klara Mardh), Thorbjorn Harr (Christopher Lind), Shanti Roney (Prime Minister); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Nicholas Tabarrok, Robert Burdreau, Jonathan Bronfman; Dark Star Pictures; 2018-Canada/USA)

“The movie falsifies too many details about the caper to have much meaning.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

It’s loosely based on the true story of a 1973 bank heist and hostage crisis as written in the 1974 New Yorker article “The Bank Drama” by Daniel Lang. Writer-director Robert Budreau (“Born to Be Blue”/”The Beautiful Somewhere”) keeps the bank heist in Sweden story entertaining as a wacky caper that became historical for giving the world the psychological phrase “Stockholm Syndrome, ” which became known for the crime captive identifying with their captor.

In disguise (a wig and leather pants) and with a Dylan song in the background, the Swede Lars Nystrom (Ethan Hawke) walks into a central Stockholm bank talking like an American cowboy and takes three bank clerks hostage. He demands that the police release his best friend, Gunnar Sorensson (Mark Strong), from prison. One of the hostages is Bianca (Noomi Rapace), a wife and mother of two. The mean-spirited chief of police (Christopher Heyerdahl) refuses to give into his demands of leaving in a getaway car (a mustang like the one used by Steve McQueen in Bullitt) with the hostages. The police are given their marching orders from the Swedish prime minister (Shanti Roney), who orders no aid for the robber. Days roll by with no change, as the jittery robber veers between threatening his hostages and trying to be a decent bloke. Somehow the hostage Bianca, despite developing a tense relationship with him also bonds with him. The cops are viewed as pigs rather than the villains, while the bumbling robber gets all the sympathy. Problem is the movie falsifies too many details about the caper to have much meaning, as it’s meant to only be goofy. But the nostalgia for 1970s atmosphere created and great comic performance by Hawke and serious one by Rapace keep this one loopy, enticing and worth seeing.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”