onsdag 23 mars 2016


Previously on Johan Falk:

In National Target Frank Wagner suffers a personal tragedy during what is most likely his last undercover job for GSI.  Johan Falk convinces him helping out one last time. But during this operation, Franks girlfriend is assaulted by the same people he is doing business with, leading to her miscarriage as she was pregnant

Frank Wagner is at this point in his life phasing out of his criminal life, yet Johan isnists of him helping out, not realizing what Frank and his family gone through in previous film. Once again, Johan, the dimwitted cop, fail to understand Franks wish to be left alone.


In all honestly this  always felt to me like a middle of the road Falk film when I first saw it. It was cool to see Peter Andersson return to the role of the intimidating gangster/ resterantowner Leo Gaut. This time more tired and jaded than before. He was easily my favorite thing about it. He kind of is like Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk. Potential for violence if he lets it. But he has chosen to suppress it instead. Luckily we don´t see him tear off his shirt in this, unless it is meant metaphorical, then yes. That does happen.


It opens with a car bombing outside a school. The  G.I Joes of Swedish crimefighting; GSI track the culprit to a shopping mall in Gothenburg. Guns are fired, hostages are taken. The usual stuff in the life of Johan Falk. 

The car bombing at the school was intended to  produce fear into a restaurant owner end extort the shit out of him. Next on that list  to scare is Leo Gaut. The antagonist from the very first Johan Falk-film; Zero Tolerance has served his sentence and is now leading a peaceful life as owner of a tavern/restaurant. He is constantly hassled by the same assholes that explode cars outside of schools. They want part of his business, but he never yields. And as tragic results ensues Gaut goes back to his violent ways and is pushed, like Charles Bronson, into a violent rampage of revenge.

Jibber jabber about the film:

The frictions between the cops and GSI continue, as Johan takes action outside proper procedure, not notifying the cops of the intent, which has the effect of that the case biggest lead ends up in the morgue.  Some fine police work here, ladies and gentlemen. Another fine word would be clusterfuck of policework. 

There is a hostage standoff situation that is repeated later on in the climax. It is reminiscent of the one that sets the events of Zero Tolerance in motion, there are children involved in all the standoffs, for dramatic effect, even in the very first standoff. I think this is very intentional as the film seem to about shedding new light on past relationships.

The opening chase/shootout in the mall feels also very reminiscent in tone from the action opener from the first film. There is a recurrence here which makes this film more interesting, even if it does not drive the overall plot forward very much. It takes place around Christmas just as Zero Tolerance. Or like any good action movie really. Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Long Kiss Good Night, Home Alone. You name it

I don´t know, Leo´s stubborn ways leads indirectly to his daughter´s death. His past life still haunts him. It is a bit like Godfather Part 3. The Part everybody hates, when Michael wants to leave the world of crime but it ends in tragedy. Have you seen that film? Underappreciated film I´d say.

Leo Gaut is still caught in the old world of his, even his thinking. If he really wanted to leave the life he led he would have taken the advice from his wife of selling the restaurant and live a quiet life on the coast, but he choose not to listen. 
 Later in the film Falk and Gaut agree to put their differences aside. Leo need Johan to help his family. Ironic, since Leo Gaut once long ago threatened to destroy Johan’s entire family. Obviously it wasn´t Johan’s then, but the circumstances lead to it. Their fates are almost intertwined. And in the long run when we get to The End there might be some stuff worth to be re-examined. Former rivals ending up helping one another.  Not spoiling anything here, but... So maybe thematically  Leo Gaut  fits in, The film seem more episodic in nature as not much plot drives the rest of the series story forward.  But it is more character based, I see now.

After Leo Gauts daughter has been killed by the fire, Falk meets Leo’s wife in the hospital try to question her of Leo’s whereabouts.  We learn that she has no friends left. As a convicted murderer all her friends turned her back against her for still sticking with him

At this point we start to notice for the first time that Johan starts to see things from Leo’s point of view.  Leo wants to get revenge and Falk’s response is”What should you and I have done in a similar situation?" This is surprisingly emphatic of Johan of understanding the mentality of the person who once was his nemesis.  His black and white point of view is a bit shattered.  And past relationships are coming to an end here starting with Zero Tolerance.  Over the course of several films now Johan has had an affair with Anja (as he had in Zero Tolerance) that concludes here, 

I always thought that cheating on his wife Helen (Marie Richardson from Eyes wide shut) signified Johan’s distance from her and his unwillingness and uneasiness of settled family life. She and the rest of the family still lives in Belgium, but now as the family is starting to come together back in Gothenburg and she finds out about it about the same time he finds out she has had an affair as well. Sounds complicated?

Both friends and enemies are both close and afar to one another in this one. There are some good shots in this film as well. Two are worth mentioning. One is Johan’s first scene with Leo in which he is positioned in the background, almost sneaking up on Leo. Leo does the same to Johan in his apartment later on. They are sneaking up on each other in their own habitats. The atmosphere in both sequences are that of uneasiness as both characters are approaching one and another for the first time in years. '

"I smell a cop.."

"Funny.. I don´t smell anything"

As we can see Johan Falk’s final confrontation with Leo is not on e of violence, but maybe acceptance as he does one thing at the end to help his old nemesis. It is a nice connectiion between two films made many years apart.

The beautifully constructed  final scene  in the movie is of Leo evading the police, crashing, lying on the ground dying, close proximity to death he see his dead daughter reaching out to him. This is intercut with Johan and Helen getting closer again. 
At this point in the series the domestic turmoil ends and  Falk´s family is now connected again for the first time in the series. 

I like the juxtaposition between Leo and Johan in this.  It seems fitting that him and Leo almost makes up and at the same time Johan and Helen makes up. But I still feel it is a middle of the road film in the series. It is a good Falk-film, with many really good to great moments, but not my favorite, but I liked it more this time around.

Nest time on Johan Falk-series: part 8: The one with the russian title I never can remember. Important stuff happens. Pay attention!

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