Tommy (2014)

My review of Swedish crime story Tommy is over at FM now and also appears below…

Tommy-scene-600x300

Focusing on the grim underbelly of Stockholm’s criminal networks and organised gangs, Tommy is a well paced mystery thriller creating a few sparks of gritty realism in the frosted side roads of the Swedish capital. A strong central performance from the lead Moa Gammel as the partner of the titular Tommy caps off a fine display of ever- building tension.

A year ago Estelle, Tommy and their daughter disappeared from Sweden following a huge bank robbery. The notoriously unpredictable crime lord now wants his money back and sends his wife Estelle to retrieve the loot from his former underlings.

Concentrating on Gammel’s Estelle as she cruises around the shadowed Stockholm streets invoking the name of her lover and partner, the film brings a decent sized portion of dread to the proceedings. This plus a few scenes of unexpected Nicolas Refn style uber violence intermittently interrupt an almost scenic roam around the city.

Many will find the pace quite slow, but the effect of the jilting terror of Tommy himself that the mobsters – most crucially Ola Rapace – feel is gradually filtered through to the audience, who in the best scenes, can feel something of this fearful experience.

The singer Lykke Li gives a reasonable showing as the sister of Estelle and the bullied girlfriend of Rapace’s Bobby – providing a glimpse of a self-sustaining abusive relationship unlikely to finish well.  The volatile temperament of top local boss Steve (Tommy, Bobby and Steve; new Stockholm underworld boy-band??) proves to be another well documented capture of frayed gangland loyalties and disturbing rages of anger.  It is Gammel’s turn as the unsmiling Estelle that is at the true icy heart of the movie, however.

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