The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared is a movie based on the hugely popular book by Jonas Jonasson. The book has sold over three million copies worldwide. After a recommendation from a friend I read the book and loved it! It is easy to compare the story to Forrest Gump due to the journey taken by the lead character and his accidental contributions to key historical points in the Twentieth Century. But the very European style of dark humour that weaves its way through the story makes it better in lots of ways. The lead character Allan likes to blow up things for instance. Allan finds himself traveling the world and making friends. Even unlikely friends such as General Franco, Kim Jong-il, Mao Tse-Tung and Harry S. Truman. He even contributes to the creation of the Atomic Bomb.
He jumps out of his window at a care home on his hundredth birthday party. We follow him on his a wacky road trip as he attempts to put some fun back into his life. This escapist road trip on its own is strange and wonderful. It involves a number of varied characters that include an organised crime syndicate, an elephant and the secret to happiness. But what really binds this story together is the constant referencing back to times gone past in Allan's life.
Now as a huge fan of the book, I could not wait to see the film. I did fear that it may not match the book. I have to say that the film does not quite do the story justice. It is very funny none the less and has a brilliant slapstick comedic style. The cast is great and Robert Gustafsson does a great job playing Allan. The transformation of the young to old Allan is amazing. It led to an Oscar nomination for best achievement in makeup and hairstyling. Alan Ford plays a convincing organised crime boss based in Bali. But the stand out performance for me came from David Shackleton playing Albert Einstein's dumb brother Herbert. He provides some real laugh out loud moments and a performance akin to the likes of Peter Sellers.
All in all, The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared moves along at a great pace and is packed full of dark humour. If you have not read the book, then you would not be aware of some elements from the book that are missing in the movie so my criticism would not apply to you. There is a new version of the story in production being produced by Will Ferrell and it will be very interesting to see how that turns out. I have to say the very European style to this film really makes it a unique experience. Highly recommended.