The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
Felix Herngren’s screen adaptation of Jonas Jonasson’s book The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared is a brilliant depiction of love for life. On his 100th birthday, Allan (Robert Gustafsson) leaves his retirement home to find bigger things, or in fact, anything. Making his rather slow and aimless escape, Allan ends up on a bus to Byringe, a place in the middle of nowhere and with only one house. An obsession with explosives and blowing things up has always followed him, throwing him into comic and gruesome situations and into the paths of impending iconic events. The audience is walked through his 100 years of life and, much like Forrest Gump, we see Allan’s influence in some of the world’s most important events, striking up friendships with Spain’s General Franco and Harry Truman, himself just a regular guy with a love for explosives.
Whilst the story of Allan is moving with its gung-ho attitude to life and darkly humourous dismissal of the fear of death, it refrains from becoming sentimental, giving this bizarre and strange film a sense of realism. Bombs, history, criminals, money, travelling and an elephant are all involved in the denouement of Allan’s life so far and the meaning he has brought to his world and to other people’s. Having viewed his existence with a rather indifferent attitude in the face of danger or tragedy, Allan defends the impression he gives as an uncomplicated character with his critique of people’s baffling ability to overthink and overcomplicate everything.
The film ends as it began, the cycle of life complete for the day, but to be relived again tomorrow. Herngren has succeeded in creating a touching work highlighting the nuances of age and the importance of climbing out of your own window and living a little, whether you’re 25 or 100.
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared is released in select cinemas on 4th July 2014.