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Storm
cast: Oscar Åkermo, Eva Rose, Sasha Becker, Jörgen Berthage, and Martin Blad

directors: Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein

110 minutes (15) 2005
widescreen ratio 16:9
TLA DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Alasdair Stuart
DD (Oscar Åkermo) is alone and happy to be that way. An arrogant, cocky, thirty-something, he's just this side of respectable and well below the radar and wants to keep it that way. Until, that is, he meets Lova (Eva Rose), a beautiful, tough woman in big trouble. Whether he likes it or not, a storm is coming, and DD is right in its path.

There have been comparisons drawn between this and The Matrix, and in some ways that's fair. The films both deal with a man being ripped out of his normal life, both reveal the truth beneath the world and both feature a beautiful woman in a leather jacket who's remarkably good at hitting people. However, the similarities soon fall away and what becomes clear, as Storm becomes progressively odder and involving, is that if this shares common ground with anything, it's either Donnie Darko or It's A Wonderful Life.

Åkermo's wonderfully languid, spiky DD is revealed, as the film goes on, to be a man built on his flaws. He's forced to confront them, confront the people he's wronged and hurt even as Lova's situation becomes ever more desperate. The countryside is used to astonishing effect in these sequences, with DD wandering, seemingly alone, through a landscape haunted by his memories and the people he keeps there, each frozen at the moment the memory and each aware of that. It's a remarkably intimate approach to science fiction, and one that's very much in line with Donnie Darko's introspection as well as in some ways, being the photographic negative of It's A Wonderful Life. These are the people who'd be better off without DD but nonetheless, the ones who define him. It's a very unusual take on this kind of plot but it works beautifully.

DD's journey to understand what's going on incorporates animation, dream-like sequences and moments of bone crunching violence, much of which is perpetrated by Lova. Whilst the character has clear echoes of Trinity there's fallibility, a humanity to her that makes the second half of the film in particular, all the more interesting and affecting. The rest of the cast also impress, especially Jonas Karlsson's splendidly sinister turn and Stein, and Mårlind's direction shifts from live action to animation and back again seamlessly.

This is a fascinating, troubling and ultimately engrossing film that takes a very different approach to some initially very familiar material. Don't be put off by the subtitles; Storm is something any science fiction film fan needs to see.
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