Film / Reviews

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared: ‘old dynamite expert gets involved with the mob’

by Kaori Shoji

The years are short, but the days are long. The title of this film is even longer. Not that it necessarily explains itself; what matters in “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” is what happens to the old coot before and after his escape.

A centenarian has a lot of life experiences to recount, and in the case of protagonist Allan Karlsson (Robert Gustafsson), he could fill volumes with his life history. Allan was a dynamite expert with a lengthy and illustrious career: He consorted with world leaders, helped develop one of the world’s deadliest weapons and enthusiastically participated in many of the wars of the 20th century.

Based on Jonas Jonasson’s best-selling novel of the same name, “100-Year-Old Man” isn’t life affirming so much as age-positive. Allan manages to have a good time whether he’s 30 or 85, in the midst of war or lounging on a beach. You’ll never catch him complaining or despairing — as far as Allan’s concerned, he lived, he grew old and that’s all there is to it. The man has no intention of stopping, either. Japan’s super-aging society could use some pointers.