Stockholm Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Pros: film adaptation of the famous case; successfully conveyed the atmosphere of the 70s Cons: the monotony of the situation is a little tiring “Stockholm Syndrome” / Stockholm

Genre crime drama, comedy
Directed by Robert Boudreau
Starring Ethan Hawke (Kai), Noomi Rapace (Bianca), Mark Strong (Gunnar), Christopher Heyerdahl (Matson), Bea Santos (Clara), Shanti Roney (Olof), etc.
Компании Darius Films, Lumanity Productions, JoBro Productions & Film Finance
Year of release 2018 (in Ukraine 2019)
IMDB page

The film is based on a true crime story that took place in 1973 – an unknown person came to a bank building located in the center of Stockholm and announced that he was going to rob it. At the time of writing, many of the witnesses to this event were alive, so their names were changed so as not to violate the boundaries of privacy. The only exception was Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, who was shot dead in 1986.

So, a man in a cowboy hat showed up at the bank, calling himself a false name (Ethan Hawke). He brandished weapons, took hostages and made outrageous demands to the police. It attracted national attention, with journalists covering the details of the robbery live on television. From the outside, the situation seemed creepy – innocent people remained at gunpoint of the robber for a long time, among whom was the mother of two children (Noomi Rapace). However, inside the bank the atmosphere was somewhat different.


Films have repeatedly used Stockholm syndrome, building a plot around the victim’s attachment to his captor. And the situation that happened in 1973 has long been filmed by the Swedes. But, naturally, in modern Hollywood they wanted to film their own version of events, which was able to be released worldwide.

The result was the same as the character of the main character – sometimes stupid, absurd, but for some reason not repulsive. The time period in which the robbery took place played a big role. In the film, the 70s setting adds its own specificity, throwing dramatic tension aside. The robber is wearing a ridiculous leather suit, another character wears bell-bottom jeans and swings his long hair. Adding to everything is a radio with Bob Dylan songs playfully playing at the crime scene.


The director and screenwriter of the film was Canadian Robert Boudreaux. His name is almost unknown in cinema, but one of Boudreau’s films might have caught your eye. The musical drama Born to Be Blue stars Ethan Hawke (Oscar nominee for Boyhood). Apparently, the collaboration between the actor and the director was successful, so Hawk agreed to work in another joint project. Less serious this time.

Ethan Hawke didn’t receive any nominations for his performance in Stockholm, although his work wasn’t that bad. Hawke appears to have focused on the extravagance of his character, where cruelty gives way to humanity. His opponent and reasonable opposite is the police chief played by Christopher Heyerdahl (True Blood, Gotham). And the main female character is Noomi Rapace, known for the Swedish film adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.


This crime drama with a biographical basis turned out to be extremely easy to understand. There are no obvious funny moments, but the absurd actions of the characters make the whole situation seem comedic. At the same time, the script practically does not indulge in free fantasy (besides the romantic line), adhering to real facts.

True, over time, what is happening may get a little boring – on the screen is the same location, where an arrogant robber is trying to get out of a difficult situation. It’s good that the action doesn’t drag on, taking one and a half hours.


It’s interesting to see the staging of one of the most famous robberies in the world on the big screen

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