Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mannen från Mallorca (1984)

Bo Widerberg is the director behind the masterpiece Mannen på Taket, the internationally recognized swedish thriller från 1976. It's a fantastic movie, and I consider it to be the best swedish movie ever, and absolutely one of the best europan thrillers of the seventies. Eight years later Widerberg was back with a new cop-movie, that could have been a sequel. It's not though, but it has more or less the same actors, same style, political views, criticism towards the police and government and it's also a real nailbiter! Based on a book by Leif GW Persson, who was involved in one of the biggest political scandals in Sweden when our attorney general Lennart Geijer payed for underaged prostitutes. Here we have one of the few real conspiracys in Sweden, where the swedish prime minister, chief of police and a lot more people just lied to cover it up.



Mannen från Mallorca is based on this premise. There's a smart and coldblooded post robbery in Stockholm. The robber get's away, but is seen by a couple of witnesses. A policeman, Johansson (Tomas Von Brömssen) chases the robber and only see the back of him, but this back is something that he can't forget. He and his colleague Jarnebring (Sven Wollter, who also plays the old viking king in the underrated The 13th Warrior) continues to investigate the robber and finds out that the robber actually is working for the Swedish Security Service (SÄPO) and that he has an alibi that's hard to refuse, no other than the attorney general! But why is he protecting a simple security police?

To be honest, there's only three good cop movies every made in Sweden. Mannen på taket, Mannen från Mallorca and I Lagens Namn. That's it. The swedish people loves their police movie and there's hundreds of them, but all dung and shit and crap. Just believe me, it's true. Mass produced for an audience of idiots. Why these three are good are because they have depth, they dare to criticize, to kick up and not down. Widerberg was a true humanist and cared of people, though he could literary walk over people to get his will done. Here he made a ultra-realistic thriller, with an army of fine performances from the swedish acting-elite. But he also, as usual, uses amateurs, people who works at the locations are playing themselves. He casts, for the second time, his old lady neighbour Karin Bergstrand in a very funny part (she played the lady with the cookies in Mannen på Taket), real alcholics and real cops. But he also injects some very swedish humour, political discussions and one of the most cynical endings I've ever seen.



For us swedes, or at least those who live in Stockholm, this is a wonderful movie to spot locations in. It's filmed everywhere in Stockholm, and Widerbergs habit to shoot on real locations and therefore moves around in real directions, makes you even more "in" the story. All over the movie there's actors (for example swedish magician Johnny Lonn in a cameo, future comedian Johan Rheborg in a small part) and other familiar faces you recognize. The polician with a habit visiting prostitutes is even played by Hans Villius, a very wellknown TV-personality and not an actor. Thomas Hellberg (also seen in Mannen på taket in a bigger part) has a small role here as a real son-of-a-bitch. Something that became reality many years alter when he got involved in a child-molesting case.

This is tense thriller, with a couple of good chases, lot's of conspiracy and even a few murders here and there. But like Mannen på Taket it never looses track of reality. This is based on real events, not the robbery, but the sex-scandal that's behind everything. He's kinder in the movie, where the prostitute is a grown up woman who enjoys sado-masocistic sex with the high ranking politician and not an underaged little girl like it was in reality. I heard people say that Mallorca is a lesser movie, but I would say it's at least as good as Taket. It dosen't have the same amount of blood and action, but the script is tight aren't afraid to let the good guys loose in the end...

A masterpiece of swedish cinema. It's a damn shame it's not out with english subtitles.

6 comments:

ygrig said...

I uploaded the English subtitles to opensubtitles.org today.

Rebus said...

thx to your magnificent posts I enjoyed another great film...Thx a lot!

Ninja Dixon said...

Rebus, I'm very happy to hear this! It's great movie and it deserves a bigger audience outside Sweden!

Anonymous said...

Det är inte Johan Rheborg utan Jerry Martinger (liknar Percy Nilegaard!) som träffar kommissarie Dahlgren i rådhuset..

petzxy

:-)

Ninja Dixon said...

Lol, yes! You're correct! It really looked like Rheborg! Thanks for the correction :)

Thomas T. Simmons said...

Great movie, one of the best police thrillers of the '80s. I love the subplot about eating only Swedish food. The ending is one of the few that left me truly shocked. Brilliant.