Review by George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
STOCKHOLM is based on a true story about a bank robbery and hostage situation that took place in in the late 70s. The actual event coined the phrase “Stockholm Syndrome” which is when hostages come to sympathize with their captors. And as the Movie plays out, we can understand this feeling.
We first meet Kaj (played superbly by Ethan Hawke) as we dons a disguise making him look like a member of the Rolling Stones circa the Sticky Fingers album era. Armed with a machine gun, not only does he demand money, he wants his friend Gunnar (Mark Strong) released from prison and a getaway car, preferably similar to the one Steve McQueen drove in Bullitt. We immediately ascertain that whereas Kaj may be well-intentioned, his demeanour and actions clearly show his inexperience and it is a giddy ride watching the charismatic and clumsy Kaj react as situations unfurl. While negotiating with a strong minded chief of police and the Swedish Prime Minister to get the ball rolling, Kaj uses bank employee Bianca (an impressive job from Noomi Rapace) as his prime hostage. She is a young, bespectacled mom who may elicit the sympathy required for the heist to go smoothly and non-violently.
STOCKHOLM is the second collaboration between Hawke and Writer/Director Robert Budreau. Their first, the atmospheric Born to Be Blue, seemed to have reinvigorated Ethan Hawke’s career. STOCKHOLM is another movie showing Hawke at his best.
We do have to address the elephant in the room. STOCKHOLM is wildly-entertaining, replete with songs from the Bob Dylan catalogue, it is not Dog Day Afternoon which I think the audience may be expecting. My minor issue with this Movie is that I wished more time and effort was put in to see the attraction develop between Kaj and Bianca. That said, this Movie is paced briskly and a must-see to witness Ethan Hawke dominate every scene he is in.
eOne Films release STOCKHOLM Friday, April 19, 2019.