Review: A Somewhat Gentle Man DVD

A Somewhat Gentle ManSTUDIO: Strand Releasing | DIRECTOR: Hans Petter Moland | CAST: Stellan Skarsgard, Bjorn Floberg, Gard B. Eidsvold, Jorunn Kjellsby, Jannike Kruse
5/3/11 | PRICE: DVD $27.99
NR | 103 min. | Foreign language comedy drama | 1.85:1 widescreen | stereo | Norwegian with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

A Somewhat Gentle Man movie scene

Stellan Skarsgard (.) stars in as an ex-con in the deadpan Norwegian comedy.

From Norway, the 2011 comedy-drama movie A Somewhat Gentle Man is a wryly observed study juxtaposing moments of brutal violence and absurd humor. Stylishly directed in neo-noir mode by Hans Petter Moland from a screenplay by Kim Fupz Aakeson, the film stars the always-game Stellan Skarsgard (The Killer Inside Me).

After 12 years in prison, petty hood Ulrik (Skarsgard) awkwardly transitions to “straight time.” His ex-wife (Kjersti Holman), whose infidelity precipitated his arrest, wants nothing to do with him and has told their son (Jan Gunnar Roise) that he’s dead. She does, however, offer him a quickie in the back room, one of several almost-robotic sex scenes that could be used in abstinence training. Ulrik seems content to plod along, but human emotion breaks through the nihilism, and when Urik’s old life of darkness and crime seems ready to reclaim him, Moland bravely opts for affirmation.

Moland’s eye for drollery is evident throughout the movie. Even that old noir staple — cigarette smoking — gets a few twists: Ulrik smoking while brushing his teeth or not lighting up after an aborted hit because a kid has asthma. What’s next? Mitchum and Greer on the patch?

A Somewhat Gentle Man is a celebration of how embarrassing it is to be human. Then again, the alternative is….? Get over yourself and enjoy it.


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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.