Stockholm Movie Review
When you think of Stockholm Syndrome, you most likely think of Patty Hearst, but the event that coined the term happened a year earlier—1973—at a bank in Sweden. Stockholm, a new film starring Ethan Hawke, Mark Strong, and Noomi Rapace, depicts the six-day bank robbery and hostage crisis. Well, sort of.
Hawke plays an outlandish American cowboy who conducts the robbery. It may not be Hawke’s best performance, but no one could challenge the notion that he had the time of his life in the role, hooting, hollering, and generally acting like crazy as the writing demands. It’s not a particularly deep role, but hot off his revered turn as a conflicted priest in First Reformed, it’s another reminder that Hawke is one of the more versatile and underrated actors in Hollywood.
Sadly, Hawke’s performance is the only truly memorable aspect of Stockholm, a 90-minute movie that despite plenty of weird circumstances and seemingly entertaining moments feels like a long slog. No part of the movie ever really clicked with me—and not just because I went in thinking, foolishly, it was a movie about the Hearst heiress.
The ironic part about Hawke’s larger-than-life presence is that it should be noted that no Americans were involved in the real 1973 incident.
Right off the bat, writer/director Robert Budreau loses credibility with the decision to make the main bank robber American when, in fact, he wasn’t. There are countless situations of foreign situations altered to include or feature Americans, or something similar, but even before researching (read: Wikipedia search), nothing that takes place in Stockholm really felt accurate. That’s all fine and good, but why not just make a bank robbery movie rather than one based on true events tied to a very specific, and aptly named, psychological condition?
More importantly, though, is that if this movie is about the incident that spurred the term “Stockholm Syndrome,” shouldn’t more emphasis have been placed on the hostages than on the robber? Should the story have been told through the eyes of the hostages?
Budreau seems completely uninterested in the psychological aspects of a movie that is, theoretically, about psychology.
As is, Stockholm is a moderately lighthearted affair that has enough entertaining moments to keep things interesting. Again, the film just doesn’t click in the way it should, perhaps because it seems unwilling to be anything but a lighthearted bank robbery drama—and I expected it to be something much more.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.