Tuesday, 16 September 2014


A ramshackle comedy, whose mild artistic rigour soon gives way to a cacophony of characters that it cannot exert any control over, no matter how much Hans Petter Moland implies it can. The implication is there, though, only in the control that Moland has over all of the elements that form In Order of Disappearance, a genuine, and genuinely good, conference of thriller staples that survives mostly on energy and commitment. Kudos to all involved for weathering such a nonsensical storm as Moland has brewed up, and making it all seem so simple, even expected. It's in the relieving qualities of each of these elements - the black comedy, the tension, the brief and abrupt forays into curiously affecting drama - that none of their sharper edges sting too hard, yet all are keenly felt. Moland's approach to the humour in Kim Fupz Aakeson's script is a dangerous one, by and large rendering it pithy and prosaic; most black comedy is much too much at pains to assert its presence, but In Order of Disappearance is crueller than that, provocatively forcing you either to react honestly to its political-incorrectness or to balk at it. Moland's deceptively effective touch, tempering the film and thus allowing it to pass off as conventional even when it's not, is best felt in his direction of Pal Sverre Hagen as The Count. The role doesn't seem to have been written as the vicious caricature that Hagen plays it as, yet how brutal it becomes when set as a preening, insecure, laughable Disney villain - a stock character we've all seen before, but no-one has mesmerised like Hagen does here. He's symbolic of the vivacious energy that transforms In Order of Disappearance from a quirky yet dull prospect into a film of real verve and real value.