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'The 100-Year-Old Man' review: Odd but fun

Allan (Robert Gustafsson) in "The 100-Year-Old Man Who

Allan (Robert Gustafsson) in "The 100-Year-Old Man Who Crawled Out the Window and Disappeared." Credit: Music Box Films

Any movie with a title as ungainly as "The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared" is bound to put more serious people off, and it shouldn't. It's another quality release from Music Box Films, which boasts a blemish-free record in finding and dispensing world cinema with a pedigree. (Recent releases include "Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem," Happy Valley" and the Oscar-winning "Ida.")

Granted, Swedish director Felix Herngren's film does have a strong resemblance to "Forrest Gump" -- and a hero who's just a tiny bit twisted. Allan Karlsson (Robert Gustafsson) is on one hand dense, on the other a little crafty: As a boy, he doesn't understand why one should chase the fox with the hounds when you can blow the fox up; when his unwitting mother trades the family's FabergA egg to survive, and the recipient gets rich, Allan blows him up, too. Institutionalization follows, and apparently leads to a long life because, just as he's about to celebrate his 100th birthday, Allan wanders away, comes into possession of a ruthless bike gang's suitcase full of drug money and, with some newfound friends, makes sure everyone gets what's coming to them.

We get to revisit the aged Allan's colorful memories -- his contributions to both sides of the Spanish Civil War and his friendship with Francisco Franco (Koldo Losada). And Stalin (Algirdas Romualdas). And Truman (Kerry Shale). His mad-bomber impulses dormant, the alcoholically inclined Allan gets involved with the Manhattan Project, which he initially thinks is about the cocktail.

The movie, which is more droll than hilarious, isn't all about the "Zelig"-esque episodes of Allan's life -- he's also being pursued by dangerous people who want their money back, but aren't smart enough to outwit the seemingly witless Allan, who's a wonderful character but, perhaps, like nitroglycerin, a little unstable.

PLOT Savant-ish gent with a talent for blowing things up breaks out of the nursing home and embarks on a picaresque adventure. RATED R (language and some violence)
CAST Robert Gustafsson, Koldo Losada, Kerry Shale
PLAYING AT Malverne Cinema 4, Manhasset Cinemas
BOTTOM LINE Eccentric, wry and highly entertaining. (In English and Swedish with English subtitles)


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