Stockholm
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Stockholm

Recent years have seen a renewed dramatic interest in the chestnuts we all remember from Introduction to Psychology. TV has its Masters of Sex, Sundancers get dueling features about the Stanford Prison Experiment and the cruel discoveries of Stanley Milgram. While we wait for a good biopic on Ivan Pavlov, writer/director Robert Budreau examines the Stockholm Syndrome by reenacting the hostage crisis that gave the phenomenon a name. His Stockholm, which gently massages actual events to serve as a fine vehicle for Noomi Rapace and Ethan Hawke, is far from the first movie to believably show a crime victim coming to sympathize with a criminal. But it’s a funny and agile one, and should work well for art house auds before eventually becoming a home-video study aid for students of human behavior.

The film begins with a close-up on Rapace’s Bianca Lind, clearly set well after her release from captivity but intentionally cryptic about who her words (in voiceover) are addressed to. She acknowledges dwelling on “what happened to us,” reflecting on the site-specific dynamics in which “you fall for your captor … or so they say.”

Flash back to 1973, as Hawke’s Lars Nystrom combs some dye through his moustache, dons a wig and leather pants, and strolls into Stockholm’s largest bank with a machine gun in his duffel. He sets a small radio on the bank counter, fires a couple of rounds into the ceiling, and seemingly makes it clear the place is being robbed. (None of the names here are those of the actual participants, nor do their actions quite reflect real ones — though many particulars are drawn straight from history.)

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Stockholm