You probably never thought there would be a cross between Woody Allen’s Zeilig with Tom Hanks’ Forrest Gump.
Still less that it would be a Swedish black comedy.
But from the moment that 100-year-old Allan Karlsson (Robert Gustafsson) blows up a fox in revenge for killing his cat, and then goes on the run from his new care home, you just know this will be no ordinary film.
In Zeilig (1983), Woody Allen kept meeting famous people while Forrest Gump (1994) was present at many historical moments.
Here, we trace the development of the atom bomb and share key tipping points of modern history through Allan’s eyes.
Directed by Felix Herngren from Jonas Jonasson’s best seller, this journey of self-discovery movie allows Allan to recall an incredible 20th-century life with General Franco (Koldo Losada), Harry S Truman (Kerry Shale), Ronald Reagan (Keith Chanter) and Albert Einstein’s half-brother, Herbert (David Shackleton).
It’s a film you want to love for its faith in the elderly and cleverness, but it can’t match 89-year-old D-Day veteran Bernard Jordan recently making his own way to France.
For starters, Karlsson looks more like the late soccer coach Bobby Robson than a genuinely 100-year-old person.
And his first key encounter on the run is to steal a surprisingly valuable suitcase from a short-tempered thug whose repeated need for anger management training belongs in a village panto.
Unlike the recent teenage punk film We Are The Best!, the Swedish language feels very harsh and the subtitles distract from the beautiful cinematography.
But after the fox’s demise there are plenty more fun, explosive moments – and there’s also an unusual starring role for an elephant (played by three of the giant creatures).