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The Jonsson Gang

"Awash with charm and exuding a real swagger"

★★★★ - STUFF 

- Crowd-pleasing Swedish crime comedy evokes the Coens’ best - 

Evoking memories of the best of the Coen Brothers and Amelie director Jean-Paul Jeunet, this Swedish crime-comedy is filled with quirky characters, memorable set-pieces and a rich vein of black humour.

What may not be obvious to most Kiwi viewers, is that this is actually 14th tale featuring the “family of felons”, the original 1981 movie inspired by a Danish series about the Olsen Gang that had been running since 1968, which had also earlier resulted in a Norwegian spin-off, beginning just a year later.

So it’s perhaps appropriate that this second “reboot” (a more dramatic take in 2015 failed to fire) should be something of a pan-Scandinavian romp, one involving Danish pop songs, a Sweden’s richest man and a would-be Finnish king.

Left behind after his latest meticulously planned “liberation” of silver coins goes pear-shaped in its final moments, the Jonsson gang’s “leader” Sickan (Henrik Dorsin) emerges from his 100-day long 14th incarceration to the worst reception since the time they missed picking him up because of the football world cup.

More interested in discussing their impending move away from his beloved waterfront compound, than who he met in jail, even the reaction to his “most ingenious heist ever” feels muted.

Plan 26, Version 3.5 involves relieving Stockholm’s Nordic Museum of the long-thought-lost Finnish crown, but while he’s prepared to attempt the mission himself, it becomes even more complicated when he’s also enlisted for a challenging burglary that’s not only connected, but puts him in the cross-hairs of those with greater resources – and far more at stake.

Rebounding after the disaster that was 2017’s The Snowman, acclaimed Swedish director Tomas Alfredson (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Let the Right One In) has crafted a crowd-pleasing tale whose many delights are in the details (especially the implementation of a decoy kitten and a large tub of Polish mayonnaise at key moments).

Awash with charm and exuding a real swagger, this romp hits plenty of pitch-perfect notes, as it all builds towards a full-symphony-scored finale.

And what other movie features Banana Day, a powerful demonstration of onion breath and a yarn exhibition?

- James Croot, STUFF

The Jonsson Gang is now playing at Light House Cinema
(In Swedish and Finnish with English subtitles)


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