A Somewhat Gentle Man (2011)
Ulrik (Stellan Skarsgård) is a somewhat gentle man. He has no special wishes and makes no demands. He does not give too much thought to what he does either. If he's given some food and a place to sleep, he will give people what they want in return. Whether this be a little affection or a killing. Ulrik has killed some people and crippled a few. It's all part of the job when you're a gangster. Just like doing time. Now Ulrik is out again. Reluctantly... And Jensen is waiting on the outside. He's a boss with professional pride, and it is important for Jensen that Ulrik kills the snitch that ratted him out. Official Selection of the Berlin Film Festival. Winner at Chicago Film Festival, Silver Hugo Award. -- (C) Strand … More
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Critic Reviews for A Somewhat Gentle Man
Skarsgard, who is perhaps best known for "Good Will Hunting" and "Breaking the Waves," makes the most of his rich role, imbuing Ulrik with a knockabout charm.
"A Somewhat Gentle Man'' is welcome, in part because Skarsgård is almost the whole show but also because the actor doesn't use the role as an excuse to put on a big performance - to do more. On the contrary, he quite wonderfully does less.
Only an actor of Skarsgard's resources could do so little and make such a big impression.
Like the Coen brothers at their least convincing, the mix of low-grade depression and amped quirkiness never shakes off the feel of self-conscious posturing.
Every stunted, turnip-faced character is dressed for maximum drabness, and the only time the sky isn't drily gray is when it's wet with rain or snow. But Skarsgard's utter finesse in the role provides a satisfying warmth.
Hans Petter Moland's film is either a jack of all trades, master of none -- well-rounded but unclear in its overall intentions -- or an experiment in balance whose results are difficult to ascertain.
This Norwegian import quickly surprises as a quirky, dark comedy reminiscent of lightweight Coen brothers.
...a quiet film full of quirky details (a Lappish arms dealer and his dwarf sidekick; the Polish version of Dancing with the Stars on Ulrik's tiny television set), and a worthy addition to the noir comedy genre...
Like many films from this perennially sun- deprived part of the world, "A Somewhat Gentle Man" mixes light and dark humor and sexual candor with an entrenched sense of world-weariness and despair.
Skarsgård's performance is a tragicomic wonder, and a rare chance for him to show his gifts at feature length.
Often engaging with just the right balance of poignancy and comedy, although it takes a while for it to gather dramatic momentum. Skarsgård delivers a convincingly heartfelt performance.
Man has the confidence of knowing exactly where it wants to go, and when it wants to arrive; however, you may be just as familiar with the territory as the driver.
Audience Reviews for A Somewhat Gentle Man
A recently released convict adjusts to life outside and the temptations to avenge his imprisonment.
Is this a comedy or a drama? The box art has critics' comments that lead me to believe it's a comedy, but the subject matter is remarkably slow and often dark. The comic elements, which allowed me a few minor grins, were quite broad like Ulrik's son's insouciant treatment of the difference between Ulrik and his new family and Ulrik's sexual escapades with his landlord. But the film is inconsistent, often asking us to take seriously Ulrik's moral conundrum, and Stellan Skarsgard's understated performance is more what we're used to seeing in a high-minded drama.
Regardless of its inconsistencies, I found A Somewhat Gentle Man entertaining and easy-to-watch. Its pace is slow, but its characters are ultimately interesting.
Overall, I liked A Somewhat Gentle Man a little more than somewhat.
Cast: Stellan Skarsgård, Bjørn Floberg, Gard B. Eidsvold, Jorunn Kjellsby, Bjørn Sundquist, Jon Øigarden, Kjersti Holmen, Jan Gunnar Røise, Julia Bache-Wiig, Aksel Hennie
Director: Hans Petter Moland
Summary: With revenge on his mind, a gangster (Stellan Skarsgård) who spent 12 years in prison for murder sets out to kill the man (Henrik Mestad) who put him there. But the promise of a normal life -- and news that he's on the brink of becoming a grandfather -- proves a tempting distraction. Suddenly, seeking vengeance doesn't seem nearly as important.
My Thoughts: "I saw way more of Stellan Skarsgard then I planned or wanted to. But besides that little fact, no fun intended, I rather enjoyed the film. I enjoyed the story and I liked Stellan's character Ulrik. He is conflicted with having a new life and getting revenge on the person who ratted him out which landed him in prison for 12 yrs. The film has a subtle hilarity about it. Just the awkward hug, wink, or nod had me smiling or laughing. Really silly actually, but it made me laugh. The whole film is full of awkward moments. Skarsgard does fantastic in his role. There's not a lot of commentary but it works for this film. A good watch if you get the chance to see it."
Norwegian black comedy/drama at its best. Real characters. Pathetic at times. Funny at times. Rather slow moving, but done in the right way. This is one of those films that draws you in until the end. Well done...More
A Somewhat Gentle Man, from Hans Petter Moland, is somewhat of a crime movie.Behind it all, the plot does have the pieces to create an absorbing 110 minutes, but the slow burn of the story does take its toll over time before picking up for the finale. The film does keep a lot of the key plot details in the dark for as long as it can, which isn't a bad idea, but some scenes do tend to drag and be uneventful. Actually, eventful but not in an enjoyable manner is a better way to put it. The comedy throughout the film is of crude and mature humor. Some of the simple and also long winded dialogue are the originators for some chuckles. The actions of some of the oddball characters conjure up some laughs as well. The plethora of "unmentionable romance" scenes on the other hand, is just plain disturbing.The casting is good. All the attention of this film is on Stellan Skarsgard and he delivers an acceptable performance. Bjorn Floberg and Gary B. Eidsvold also have enjoyable characters.When it comes to the entertainment value of A Somewhat Gentle Man, it is a mixed bag. Try it and find out. That's all there is to it.More
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