Ethan Hawke and Noomi Rapace star as captor and hostage in Robert Budreau’s crime-drama film
Robert Budreau’s new crime-drama film, Stockholm, had its premiere last year at Tribeca Film Festival: after the debut in the U.S. two months ago, it’s hitting Italian theaters today, June 20, 2019. The film, written and directed by Budreau, stars Ethan Hawke, Noomi Rapace and Mark Strong in the main roles.
Stockholm is based on the true 1973’s bank heist and hostage crisis occurred in the Swedish capital and documented in 1974 in a New Yorker article, The Bank Drama, by Daniel Lang. The story tells how the hostages created a bond with their captors and opposed the authorities giving rise to the psychological condition later described as “Stockholm Syndrome”. For the sake of narrative, Budreau didn’t follow the facts by the book and intentionally used fictional names for his characters.
The film starts with a close-up of a ex-hostage, Bianca Lind (played by Rapace): her words, in voiceover, tell us about a distant memory we still don’t know anything about. Through a quick flashback, we get to know Lars Nystrom (Hawke), an eccentric robber with a passion for America and Bob Dylan who, after wearing a leather jacket and wig, bursts into Stockholm’s largest bank with a machine gun and takes some employees hostage.
We soon realize that Lars is not a true villain: he apparently wants the money, he apparently wants to kill people, but his real interest is to force the Swedish police to release his friend Gunnar (Mark Strong), a prisoner. On the other side, the authorities’ only concern is to obstruct his plans, no matter the cost for the victims. Lars’ bizarre behavior will seduce Bianca, persuading the woman and the other employees to line up with the criminals.
In Stockholm, Hawke’s performance is the real deal: Lars’ odd charme gets the spotlight from first scene to last. He’s a clumsy gentleman whose vulnerability emerges when danger becomes tangible while Rapace and Strong are good supporting acts, but they can do nothing more than follow the leader.
There’s nothing to complain about Budreau’s directing and the film also shows a certain attention to detail when it comes to costumes and cinematography (in a lovely 70s style).
If there’s a flaw, in this film, it’s probably in the writing: in Stockholm there’s too little humor to call it a comedy and there’s also some action, but it’s just enough to give reason for a robbery. The result is a film with a slow development which makes Hawke shine, although sacrificing a narrative rhythm that felt necessary in a crime-drama film.