Saturday, 25 December 2010

Lasermannen (2005) - Mikael Marcimain

Lasermannen is a three part Swedish mini series based on the best selling book of the same title by Gellert Tamas. Now there was a time when the idea of mini series conjured up nothing more than yawns, usually staring seen better days actors that no one under the age of fifty would be caught dead watching. Well obviously TV drama has changed a lot since those dark bloated days. In fact some TV shows are better than a lot of the pap that's pumped into the local cineplex nowadays. And this little beauty is no exception. It tells the true story of John Ausonius who back in the early nineties spent his spare time shooting foreigners in Stockholm. He started out using a rifle which he had fitted with a laser sight, hence the title of the series, and his tabloid nickname - The Laser Man. He was eventually caught, but like all true crime stories, there are things that happened that had they been in a fictional film, you would walk away from the cinema thinking it was a tad unrealistic.

Running at an arse numbing 270 minutes, it's split into three episodes all of which are over well before you want them to be. Exciting, scary, tragic, thought provoking and at times darkly funny, Lasermannen is all of these and then some. Ausonius is played to perfection by David Dencik, in a role that he will struggle to better. It's a true career defining moment, and it'll be interesting to see if he can shake himself clear of Ausonius in the future. The whole show is shot through in a grimly realistic fashion, guns don't sound like cannons, there is no one amazing policeman who through sheer dogged determination tracks down the killer, things go wrong, leads aren't followed up, murders aren't connected for a long time, not every person that is shot dies (in fact Ausonius only managed to kill one person), in short everything feels real. Dencik is Ausonius. Taking us through the trauma of his teenage years, into the events that shaped him into a killer. All the while director Marcimain manages to keep the swing to the right in Swedish politics from that time firmly in the frame via real news clips. I can't say enough about just how important this film (because ultimately this is a really long film), is for Sweden. Time will tell, but I feel certain that it will be looked back upon favourably long after Låt den rätte komma in has faded from memories.

Now the reason I decided to dig this out when I did was simply because politically Sweden is back where it was in the early 90's. There is a growing nationalist movement, and only a few months ago someone was shooting at foreigners in Malmö (the city I live in), managing to kill one person. Of course the press labeled him nya lasermannen (the new laser man), and for a while there it was horrible to live in Malmö. However the police now have someone who they believe to be the killer in custody, and since then the shootings have stopped. I've always been of the opinion that society creates it's own monsters, Lasermannen backs up that theory 100%.

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