Contemporary World Cinema | 2015 | 107 minutes
Stranger Says: A bored Stockholm carnival worker impulsively accepts a troubled free spirit’s offer of a road trip through the idyllic Swedish countryside. Their adventure soon finds them on the lam for murder, as these things often do. Not terribly compelling, unfortunately, especially when the thin plot gets increasingly clunked up by an overly busy flashback structure. The realistically wobbly byplay between the two leads is nice, however. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
SIFF Says:Em and Isak meet while fleeing the scene of a botched one-night stand—their presence a by-product of an unhappy couple’s infidelity. Isak lends Em his coat as they walk the streets of Stockholm, she mentions she’ll never return it, and the rest is history. When you find someone who finally gets you, there’s no looking back. The two embark on a spontaneous road trip in Em’s father’s vintage Saab convertible, with the vague plan of stealing a cello for her sister guiding them through northern Sweden. Between rest stops, packs of cigarettes, and evening swims, they begin to open up. Isak admits to his rather monotonous life, living with his dad who’s more a drinking buddy than a father, manning the game booth at a carnival, and not being able to make a relationship last more than one night. Em, less eager to reveal all and harboring a strong sense of displacement among her successful family and friends, is running from the ghost of a dark childhood memory. Eventually they fall into love and out of money, and what begins as an impromptu adventure escalates into something far more sinister. Complimented by Niklas Johansson’s striking cinematography, director Andreas Öhman carefully crafts a cutting, emotionally genuine lovers-on-the-run story.
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