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Hal MacDermot [Celluloid 05.27.08] movie review scifi

Year: 2005
Release date: Tuesday, May 27th (DVD r1)
Director: Måns Mårlind & Björn Stein
Writer: MÃ¥ns MÃ¥rlind
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Amazon link
Review by: cyberhal
Rating: 8.4 out of 10

Storm is a movie that had me laughing out loud, and a few seconds later, on the edge of my seat. It's a gaming movie, an action flick, a thriller, an offbeat comedy and a coming of age film. It's a plot-packed roller coaster piece where it's often hard to know what's "real," and what's comic book fantasy. Or is it all a post-death flashback? I don't know the answers, but I know this movie made me think deeply about my own childhood and how many times I've messed up (but I'm not telling you how).

Some people might say the filmmakers were trying to do to much. You could argue that there are two movies here, in the first half, a post-modern gaming story, in the second a voyage of personal discovery. This seeming switch over wrong-footed me for a minute or two, and then I learned to love it. Sure it's an unexpected story evolution, but hey, that's exactly why I'm hanging out watching a cross-genre Swedish movie and not Raiders of the Lost Ark part X.

The film kicks off with a classic action sequence. Hot chick Lova (Eva Rose) tries to escape from a darkly lit underground complex, pursued by a guy dressed in black (Jonas Karlsson) and a gang of bald psychopaths. She's with another hot chick friend of hers and they've stolen a small metal cube. Now I'm worried because I've seen Hellraiser and it scared me. Lova gets doused in petrol and almost gets torched, but manages to escape.

The next ten minutes are a hilarious monologue voice over by Donny (Eric Ericson). He takes us on a trip though his selfish life in Stockholm, Sweden. We learn he despises his small hometown, Vanersborg. We meet his brother Ronny (Christian Hollbrink), who's retarded but nice. We see a mysterious and violent storm as it rolls across the county, only to disappear quietly. Sorry, but I have to give you a taste of the humor. Donny's on the subway escalator when he meets his female boss, Malin: *"she's got silicon breasts and is two-timing her fiancé with a guy in sales. Big damned Neanderthal who told me she liked it up the butt. Every time I see her I just think about that.*

Ha, ha, right, but here's where Lova jumps into Donny's taxi to escape the bald psycho guys (Run Lola Run!). Now we're in gamer mode where it's all about action and symbols and events move fast. Lova's friend gives Donny the cube, which is "the Key" to everything, and a second later she takes a bullet to the head! Now the cops are after Donny for the murder. And the bald psycho dudes are after him for the Key. He tries to take refuge with a mate, but in a darkly funny twist, gets refused because he borrowed a bunch of computer games and never returned them. BTW, I should mention that by this point, I wasn't sure whether Donny was being sucked into a computer game, or always been playing it, but either way I was riveted.

With evil closing in, Lova shows up in a car and saves him. Smash cut to the foggy and deserted streets of Donny's hometown. This is where the story morphs. From now on, it's all about Donny needing to remember the life-shaping moments in his childhood where he seriously messed up. And man, Donny really did mess up. I don't want to spoil things, but the least traumatic of them involves our boy and Helena, (Sasha Becker) his 14-year-old girl, on whom he performs unspeakable acts with a bong and no lubricant. If you're wondering about payback, yes indeed, the ghost of Helena is not in a forgiving mood and my eyes are still watering.

The transition to memory lane also marks a change in the photography. Before: darkly lit night scenes, bluish-neon interiors, cop-stations and nightclubs. After: the almost black and white world of Donny's hometown. The only two scenes with masses of light are Donny's brother's bedroom (because Donny made his bro scared of the dark), and a Cuban Beach, which actually was shot in a real live tropical location. It's on the beach that Man in Black tries to convince Donny that it's Lova the one messing with his mind. Wouldn't it be easier if you stop worrying about the bad things you did in your past and just enjoyed life like a real man?

One of strong points in this movie is the way that different kinds of narratives cross over. For example, when Donny visits his small hometown, he finds a comic book called "Storm" in his bedroom. When he reads it, turns out the story is the story of Lova, and the comic book gives a clue on how to defeat the guy in black. Reality and memory cross over and blend. Is Lova a comic book heroine or is she some kind of an angel? Is the box real or is it a symbol of Donny's dark history? As the story moves towards resolution, the worlds of suppressed memories and comic book action finally come together and we see the childhood event that totally screwed him up.

Erik Ericson does a spectacular job as the lead. He's confused, cowardly, conflicted and brave all at the same time. Lova's strong too, but her role as chick on the run/angel and guide is more limited. I found Jonas Karlsson's performance as bad guy/perhaps Satan, not quite as convincing. Not quite evil enough. The soundtrack (Carl-Michael Herlofsson) is all about stringed instruments, lots of atmosphere to fit those moments full of suspense.

Storm is definitely not a simple movie, but it is entertaining and thought provoking. It's a movie that directors like Uwe Boll should watch, because it might help them understand how to use gaming to make a powerful movie. Now I'm off to think about all the mistakes I made when I was a kid, see ya.

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agentorange (13 years ago) Reply

Sold! In fact you had me at "what is real." Storm sounds like it was ripped from the pages of some lost Philip K Dick story and for that I'm intrigued.

Great review.


sonaboy (13 years ago) Reply

"We meet his brother Ronny, who's retarded but nice."

sorry, that line made me laugh. anyone ever met a person with Downs Syndrome who ISN'T nice or DOESN'T want to be your pal? hahahahhhah


Anonymous (12 years ago) Reply

Does anyone know who sings the song on the dvd menu? You go to my head? I can't find anything for this.


Bastette (11 years ago) Reply

I loved this movie! I was expecting a sf/fantasy "what is reality?" type movie, and got a whole lot more. The final scenes were very moving and brought tears to my eyes.

There were a lot of unanswered questions and various points I found confusing, so the following night, I watched it again - and a lot of things fell into place.

I actually saw Lova and the Man in Black as aspects of himself. At the beginning of the movie, we meet a man who is totally numb - very little emotion, no empathy for others, and even literally numb. Lova was that part of himself who needed to go back and reclaim the person he had lost. The Man in Black was the part of himself that didn't want to deal with those memories - the reason for his forgetting in the first place. When you erect a mental defense, that defense is going to do everything it can to... well, defend itself.

By the way, that great song in the end credits is called "Invite Me" by Sofia Allard, a Swedish singer.


The_Befallen_One (7 months ago) Reply

"I don't want to spoil things"

That one really made me laugh. Heck, your review is spoiling the whole damned movie, scene by scene! Except for the ending, maybe. Good for you - I have seen it like five times.

It is, however, a really good encapsulation of the masterpiece. And I totally share your opinion. "Storm", released in 2005, is one of the best movies ever made in Sweden. Still is. (I'm sorry, Ingmar Bergman fans... well, that guy made one or two whixh are pretty good, too).

Although I feel a bit sorry for people reading you article not having seen the movie yet.

That said, it was nice to find this review on the net, reminding me that a have to rewatch the movie soon.

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