HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: In Order of Disappearance
HTS Overall Score:77
“In Order of Disappearance” is actually the 4th collaborative film between director Hans Petter Moland and veteran Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard. I was a big fan of “Aberdeen” and my favorite of the two’s work is “Zero Kelvin”. A nasty and rough little drama about two men trapped in a hut together during a snowstorm. This time around, Hans Moland crafts together a film noir meets “Pulp Fiction” and “Fargo” dramedy that has a hard time keeping up with the comedy unless you’re familiar with Norwegian humor. You can see it under the surface, but the interview with the director as well as a few interviews behind the scenes with the actors allow for a much better second viewing. Especially when you know the comedic queues coming and can actually appreciate them. The man flaw that “In Order of Disappearance” suffers from comes in the form of just being TOO long. The story is a basically a “Taken” style revenger thriller at heart, but the middle of the film slows down to a dead crawl at times and it’s not till the last 20 minutes that things get set into motion that bring the film to a rousing close (with a hysterical final death scene involving a snow blower and a parachute that actually had me keeling over from the sheer absurdity).
Nils Dickman (Stellan Skarsgard) has just been named Man of the year in his little village in Norway. He’s a Swedish immigrant who has moved to Norway with his family and integrated to the best of his ability. As his friend tells him “You’re more Norwegian than most Norwegians”. However, this happiness is short lived when his wife gets a call that his son Ingvar (Aron Eskeland) has just died of a drug overdose. The thing is, Ingvar was no drug addict. It doesn’t take long for one of Ingvar’s friends, Finn, to confide in Nils that his son was actually killed by a drug dealer’s lackey for Finn’s theft of cocaine. Desperate, furious, and completely inconsolable, Nils takes it upon himself to become a one man wrecking crew and kill his way up the chain of command until he reaches the boss. The one who gave the order in the first place.
Nils is no Liam Neeson though (Ironically there is a remake of “In Order of Disappearance that is supposed to star Neeson in the next few years). He is just a simple businessman with a vendetta. He is able to take out a few of the henchman on the way up the chain of hierarchy, but soon he runs out ability. Using his brother’s advice (who actually worked for this drug kingpin in the past) he hires a hitman, only to have the hitman sell him out to the Count (Pal Sverre Hagen). The only thing is, The Count thinks it’s his brother instead of Nils, which soon starts a bloodbath between himself and the rivaling Serbian drug cartel that he shares the city with. A bloodbath that Nils is more than happy to take advantage of and use to his advantage in his never ending quest to wreak vengeance on the man who killed his son.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=86330[/img]Despite the humor never really translating well to English, “In Order of Disappearance” is a very likeable film. There’s a big element of “Taken” here, with a father going on a murderous rampage to avenge his child. Although, instead of a kidnapping and rescue scenario, it’s more of a ticked off dad who wants blood for his son’s death. Right off the bat you can see that Nils has had some “interesting” experiences in his life, and the way he takes out the first few bad guys is evidence of that. This is confirmed a later on in the movie when Nils visit’s his brother in the mountains and you find out that the brother was a gangster himself. What follows next is the type of machismo bravado that makes every good revenge thriller. A single man going up against dozens of well-trained drug dealers to meet a brutal end.
While the humor doesn’t always translate into English, it is till is very much there. A sort of black and sly humor intertwines itself throughout the script and creates many a dry chuckle if you know what to look for. The most obvious bit of humor is the last scene of the movie with the snowplow and the parachute. Although, the rest of the movie is much more subversive and sly in its approach. Watch the death scene “placards” where you see the name and religious affiliation of the deceased, as well as snarky moments with the Count and his ex-wife bantering back and forth.
Stellan is a fantastic actor, and he is magnificent as the steadfast Nils Dickman. He’s brimming with emotion, but also a sense of psychosis and fury that turns to ice cold when the “Citizen of the year” goes on a murderous rampage to avenge his family. My main complaint with the film was never the acting, as everyone involved was amazing. It’s just that the center act of the film REALLY slows down after The Count thinks the Serbians were the ones who put out the hit on him and his men. The bumbling and stumbling around in the dark by the two cartels just is stretched out way too long and by the time the inevitable confrontation happens you’ve been watching the clock for the last 15+ minutes.
Rated R for bloody violence, and language throughout
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=86338[/img]According to my sources “In Order of Disappearance” was shot digitally using Arri Alexa cameras, and the resulting scope image is quite impressive to behold. Shot on location in Norway, the snow studded slopes are brimming with brilliant white snow and the blue tinged mountains. The movie tends to be rather drab in terms of colors, except for the Count’s home which is given a more colorful vibe, or the bright yellow coveralls that Nils wears. The white levels are pushed to the point of blooming at times, especially in the daylight scenes where the sun is reflected off of the white snow. Black levels are deep and inky, and I only noticed banding around beams of light in the darkness, otherwise the image is pristine and razor sharp. Fine detailing along faces and clothing is exquisitely done, leaving nothing to the imagination, and the outdoor backdrops are awe inspiring.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=86346[/img]We have a choice between dueling Norwegian and English DTS-HD MA 5.1 tracks, and naturally I gravitate towards the original Norwegian track. That’s not to say that the English track sounds poor, in fact they are more similar than different, but the dubs don’t sound right in comparison to the native track. Vocals are crisp and strong, centered right up front between the mains, the front soundstage shows some excellent imaging with the snow plows and various sundry action bits. The surround channels are fairly dormant for a majority of the film, but they are livened up a bit during the shootouts or with some ambient noises created by passing cars or the plow itself that Nils drives. LFE is clean and precise, but relegated mostly to gunshots and passing vehicles as the movie is definitely very talky. It’s a good track, but a simplistic one, and doesn’t require a whole lot of heavy lifting.
• Interview With Stellan Skarsgard
• Interview With Director Hans Petter Moland
“In Order of Disappearance” is a twisted and morbidly dark dramedy that delves into a nice combination of film noir and revenge thriller. Stellan Skarsgard once again proves how excellent he is at these dramatic roles and Director Hans Moland knows how to bring out the best in his actors. It’s a highly enjoyable, even if slightly flawed, film that kept intrigued to the very end (except for that 2nd act). Magnolia has given us a very nice looking and sounding Blu-ray, but once again modern extras are sorely lacking. Still, I would give this one a watch if you’re the least bit interested in foreign films.
Starring: Stellan Skarsgard, Pal Sverre Hagen, Bruno Ganz
Directed by: Hans Petter Moland
Written by: Kim Fupz Aakeson
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Norwegian DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 117 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: December 6th 2016
Buy In Order of Disappearance On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Entertaining Watch
More about Mike