Starring: Ethan Hawke, Noomi Rapace, Mark Strong, Christopher Heyerdahl, Bea Santos
Directed by: Robert Budreau
Written by: Robert Budreau
“Based on the absurd but true story” lights the screen before you see this movie and absurd is definitely what you get. Stockholm is a hilarious part of history that could have had some real-life consequences. However, it was nothing less than a bumbling mess that resulted in bringing a new phenomenon to psychology.
Stockholm (2018) is based on the criminally insane story of a 1973 bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden. Daniel Lang documented a story in a 1974 New York Times article called “The Bank Drama” where a bank robber and his accomplice held hostages inside the bank for six days. The government did almost absolutely nothing for the hostages because of the demands the robbers were making. The four hostages were scared at first, but then came to sympathize with their captors. Creating a bond with them, that would change psychology forever.
If you guys don’t know what that is, let me pull out my handy psychology fun facts for you. (Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist. I’m just a nerd for psychology. If any of this is wrong, please don’t hate me.) It’s literally what I said above, but a little more to it. Stockholm Syndrome is when you’re held captive by people or peoples (for example, a gang, terrorist group, your friends, etc.), and you end up siding or feeling a high amount of affection towards your captors. In a sense, once these people hold you, you primarily carry an affinity for them or their cause.
There are different types of cases where Stockholm Syndrome. These depend upon conditions and situations. For example, there’s Lima, Battered Woman, Helsinki, and Uncle Tom syndrome. These all provide various degrees of cases that people may or may not be in and also bring behaviors that are different time to time. There are some famous cases of Stockholm Syndrome. Notably Patty Hearst, Natascha Kampusch, Elizabeth Fritzl and more.
Okay, I know you didn’t come here for psychology 101. Let’s bring you up to date with the movie.
Stockholm (2018) takes that initial article and psychological base surrounding the diagnosis and rallies the narrative around it. Director and writer Robert Budreau brings a humorous and quick-witted comedy that doesn’t fail to charm you along the way as well. There’s something that’s so captivating about the movie. You’ll feel you’re sucked in as well. Budreau’s direction and script play off the chemistry with the actors in a confined space. I’m a devoted fan of films like this. It creates such an interesting close dynamic towards the story through the actors. Stockholm employs this well leading this film into being a mega success and earns the story that it’s telling you. It feels like you’re just as trapped with the hostages, watching as the government does nothing for you as you wait to be rescued. It makes you furious, but it also leaves you curious.
Budreau’s narrative is funny, but also very tender and observant. This is very effective when you watch it through Bianca Lind’s (Noomi Rapace) eyes. (We’ll get to this in a second.) It’s astonishing to watch the story slowly take place not knowing what the end game will be. What will happen to the kidnappers? What will happen to the employees after this? Will the government standards of kidnapping change because they f*cking suck? You observe it from each side, understanding the allure and charm that the hostages felt with their captors. Again, this brings you into the movie.
You can’t not like Ethan Hawke. I feel no matter what you do he’s just one of those presences that illuminate the screen. He can play romantic and daring but I never paid attention to his comedy chops until Stockholm. There’s something wild and entertaining about him that makes your heart leap when he’s on screen. The way he bounces off of Mark Strong is something that needs to be seen because you can’t explain the “brotherly” chemistry they have together in words. He plays the most ridiculously brilliant lead imaginable, filled with charming charisma, bubblingly flawed idiocy and an absolute disastrous sweetheart all at once.
Noomi Rapace can do no wrong. Rapace is a veteran of this acting game much like Hawke, but it always feels like you’re seeing her for the first time. She plays the hostage like a baby dear in the headlights, but also as an observer of character. You feel for her throughout the film because of her empathetic nature towards everyone around her and her absolute resilience to stay strong throughout. I’m so very happy she was the pinpointed character in this film. If it were any other way, you wouldn’t feel so much sympathy or empathy towards them. However, Rapace does an incredible job showing the vulnerability, compassion and strength it takes to keep going in a ridiculous situation.
Christopher Hayderhal, who many may know from Supernatural, is slimy and smarmy as the police captain. It’s frustrating to see how he handles the situation as his male fragile police ego gets in the way. It still makes him a great “villain” of the story. He wants to gain control however he can, but at the expense of people around him. Hayderhal is such an underrated actor that should be getting way more credit that he gets.
Verdict: WATCH IT! Stockholm is an absurdly fun movie. Once the action starts, it doesn’t stop, and that’s just how you’ll like it. It gives a different perspective all the way around about kindness, sympathy, stupidity and a sense of fun all around. Also, you want to sit down and see Mark Strong in that hair. You also want to look at Ethan Hawke in his hair. It’s f*cking terrible, but you’re going to love it.