A Somewhat Gentle Man

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It takes a while for this upcoming movie to really get moving, not unlike its depressed antihero. For a while the audience is not going to care about Ulrick, played by Stellan Skarsgard, a middle-aged guy who happens to be a murderer who just got out of jail. He’s thick, steady, steady, quiet and sports a ponytail. In this new movie release Ulrick’s boss expects him to kill the guy who was responsible for his jail time. Ulrick says that there won’t be any more violence in his life, or at least that’s what he thinks.
This Norwegian offering to this year’s group of new movies is actually a very deadpan gangster comedy. It’s about a couple of old guys who are working in a young man’s world. All of Ulrick’s old friends seem to have succumbed to diabetes, stroke and colostomy. Patsy Cline’s music adds to the sad feeling of this new movie. Skarsgard walks around with a pained expression. He’s surrounded by brutal women and silly men, all with stringy hair, dead skin and style that rivals that of people living in a homeless shelter.
Ulrik takes a job as an auto mechanic and loves steamed cod and sex with his landlady, played by Jorunn Kjellsby. There isn’t much conversation between them. Instead they watch the Polish “Dancing with the Star” on TV.
Something about Ulrik’s attempt to get his life back slowly grows on you. Director Hans Petter Moland has Ulrik reaching out to his son, played by Jan Gunnar Roise, and a fragile colleague, played by Jannike Kruse, and he seems to warm up and come back to life as we watch. At the movie’s finale, Ulrik finally lights up with an enormous smile and the audience will realize that this is the moment they’ve been hoping for.
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