Crime comedies are uncommon, but the ones that do work blend comedic aspects with tragic and emotional ones. Balance, on the other hand, is difficult to acquire and sustain. So when a series rolls along that does both, you pay attention. At least for now, a new Netflix series from Sweden tries to strike that proportion.
The Gist: When Jack Johansson (Alfred Svensson) was a boy, he watched a stranger in a suit perform a swan dive over the exact overpass with his bag full of pebbles. The man wanted to commit suicide, and he handed Jack a note to distribute to his family members.
On his way to the current moment, he pays a visit to his father, Jim, at his house (Dan Ekborg). They both serve as policemen in the Swedish town where they reside, and they share a drive to the workplace. Initially, Jim thinks that Jack’s sister Jill would be available to join them for the New Year’s Eve festivities. Jim has even used his savings to purchase a railway ticket for her.
Jack’s father has fallen for Jill’s ruse to get more cartel cash for the umpteenth time. Meanwhile, a group of individuals attends an open residence and tours a flat. Then we watch a hooded bandit break into a bank and hold a cashier at gunpoint — until the employee displays a sign that says the robber is in a paperless bank.
They pursue the thief inside the premises where the annual party is taking place, and he takes everyone captive. After receiving a pizza and pyrotechnics from him and his dad, the thief releases the captives.
Anxious Individuals, based on Fredrik Backman’s novel, is a thriller about a father-son police duo, an incompetent bank burglar, and the diverse group of people he holds captive. But it’s actually about all of those people’s lives and how they joined along at that very time. Director Felix Herngren and writer Camilla Ahlgren have woven a story out of Backman’s story that is hilarious at parts and heartbreaking at others.
Jim sends the captives home, encouraging them to reflect on what happened during the holidays and see if they can develop any fresh insights. Jack is hell-bent on learning the facts behind the robbery.
We’ll just state that the entire group of hostages interests us instead of giving this to the man in the bunny suit. “It chops right through your hairline and collapses in a babyface, with a spotty moustache in a style I’ve never seen before,” the Stockholm SWAT captain says of Jack’s half-done hairdo. We suppose that’s an offense.
STREAM IT is our rallying cry. Anxious People is a film that manages to be both hilarious and tragic while maintaining an equilibrium between the two. We hope that as the enigma unfolds and we learn more about the captives, the program will be able to maintain the same level of equilibrium.