(Slim Susie)

ROLE:  Police officer Mörka Rösten

GENRE: Comedy

COUNTRY:  Sweden

PREMIERED:  October 3, 2003


The film is set in a small industrial town in Värmland, where a young man returns to his hometown from Stockholm to investigate the sudden disappearance of his sister. He initially has little success with his inquiries, performed through the rekindling of brief acquaintances with the odd characters of his youth, and he eventually forms a picture of what has happened.  Diving headlong into the shady underbelly of the small town in a desperate attempt to locate his long-lost sibling, Erik is shocked to find himself following a trail that involves everyone from heroin-addicted movie buffs to corrupt policemen and fearsome gangsters.


Program Details


Tuva Novotny - Smala Sussie
Jonas Rimeika - Erik
Björn Starrin - Grits Pölsa
Kjell Bergqvist - Billy Davidsson
Malin Morgan - Sandra
Lotta Tejle - Gudrun
Michael Nyqvist - Mörka Rösten
Lena Dahlman - Gerd
Johan Andersson - Micke Tretton
Anders Blomberg - Tore Tumör
Nicky Horn -  Davidssons wife
Bengt Alsterlind - Gunnar
Lena Wallman-Alster - Erik's mother
Rolf H. Karlsson - Cinemaoperator
Olle Wirenhed - Konsum-owner Ralf

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Director - Ulf Malmros
Writers - Ulf Malmros and Petteri Nuottimäki

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101 minutes

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Pop Matters:
In an extraordinary opening scene, Erik and friend Thirteen (Johan Andersson) appear in mid-flight. From what, we don't know. When Erik is cornered by an imposing figure who demands "the whole story," it's time for the flashbacks. Within minutes, Slim Susie resembles that most David Lynchian of plots, a small town rife with hidden corruption. But instead of playing up the menace, director Ulf Malmros goes for the comic jugular. In part, this emerges in character "flips": Susie turns out to be a drug-abusing rock groupie and the local video storeowner Gerd (Lena Dahlman) is a legendary crime boss. The only cop in town, Billy Davidson (Kjell Bergqvist), is more interested in covering up illegalities than solving them, while Grits the junkie (Björn Starrin) fancies himself the next camcorder auteur, that is, when he's not making homemade wine out of the garbage under his kitchen table.

The film works these disparate individuals into an intricate storyline by way of a satisfyingly kinetic energy. Everyone and everything in Malmros and co-writer Petteri Nuottimaki's universe has a back story, from a fish-shaped pitcher to a standard-seeming drainpipe. While so much information can cause entertainment overload, the movie repays the attentive viewer. All the characters, all the circumstances, are equally instructive. This challenges our expectations, as a throwaway point comes back to haunt our hero or a seemingly noteworthy situation leads to near irrelevance.

It would be easy for a film as scattered as Slim Susie to lose its focus. And as it openly references films like Scarface, The Usual Suspects, and Reservoir Dogs, we remain on the lookout for possible implausibility in the storytelling. But Malmros delivers something stupendous, a film that leaves you positively giddy.

It is Starrin, as Grits, who walks away with the movie outright. The character is the bridge between Erik and Susie's naïveté and the sinister scandal they all face. Certainly, this joke of a junkie is an asshole, all unbridled Id leaking out of his dirty underpants (his recurrent costume). And yet he's a dreamer, absorbing everything he sees from his rented videos and believing that, he too, will one day be a great filmmaker. Put the two together and you have someone to root for, though he doesn't deserve it. While most of the characters here are flawed, we're eager to see how their interwoven wantonness plays out in the end. Our interest is only intensified by Slim Susie's pop/punk soundtrack, one of the greatest in recent memory.

Some might dismiss this movie as copycat cinema at its most cynical. But all moviemaking has always been referential. But Slim Susie makes the case that imitation is not only flattery, but the most effective language of postmodern cinema. Like sampling is to hip-hop, the reverential allusion, if done well, becomes its own entity. And if it is nothing else, Slim Susie is one of a kind.