Comedies that revolve around crime are rare, but the ones that work balance the funny with the poignant and dramatic elements. but balance is difficult to achieve and maintain. then a program appears that manages to do both, take note. a new netflix series from sweden manages to strike that balance, at least to begin with.
anxious people: pass it on or skip it?
foreground: a young man jogs across a bridge. he stops and touches the railing as a memory returns to him.
The gist: Some ten years earlier, as a young boy, Jack Johansson (Alfred Svensson) watched a man in a suit dive off that same bridge, his backpack loaded with rocks. . It is obvious that the man wanted to take his own life and gave Jack a note to give to his loved ones.
Back in the present, he returns home where he lives with his father Jim (Dan Ekborg). they are both police officers in the Swedish city where they live and go to work together. But first, Jim hopes that Jack’s sister, Jill, will join them for the new year; Jim even sent her some money for a train ticket. Jack is dismayed that his father has fallen for Jill’s ploy to get more drug money for the umpteenth time.
Meanwhile, a group of people tour an apartment for an open house: heavily pregnant julia (carla sehn) and her partner ro (petrina solange), older couple anna-lena (marika lagercrantz), and roger ( Leif Andree), the very eager Zarah (Anna Grannath), the more confident Estelle (Lottie Ejebrant), and Lennart (Per Andersson), who, for some reason, is going to the open house in a bdsm-themed bunny outfit.
then we see a masked robber break into a bank and hold a teller at gunpoint, until the teller holds up a sign saying the robber is in a bank out of cash. Jack is in the middle of a haircut in front of the station, leaving to argue with his dad about Jill once the stylist, Milou (shima niavarani), tells him that he knows about Jill’s visit. As the discussion reaches the street, Milou alerts them to what’s going on right behind them.
They chase the thief to the building where the open house is being held and he holds everyone hostage. Even though Jack and Jim don’t usually deal with big crimes like this, Jim thinks they can handle it on their own without the support of the police in nearby Stockholm. so they wait for the thief; he demands, oddly enough, pizza and fireworks. the thief frees the hostages, but when jack and jim enter the apartment, with the stockholm swat team (jack called the city police for backup), they see no one.
When the father and son question the hostages, neither of them gives a solid description of the thief, but some of their descriptions are patently ridiculous, causing both of them to wonder what happened to the thief.
Which shows will it remind you of? Anxious People has a quirky first-season vibe of Fargo, where most of the cops are mediocre at best and the criminals make a lot of money. of errors.
Our take: Based on the Fredrik Backman novel, Anxious People is presented as a mystery involving a father-son police team, an inept bank robber, and the disparate group of people he takes as hostages. . but what it’s really about is the lives of all those people and how they came together at that particular time. Director Felix Herngren and writer Camilla Ahlgren have managed to take the Backman story and weave a narrative that is sometimes silly and other times genuinely emotional.
The first episode barely scratches the surface of this story, primarily examining Jim and Jack’s relationship, their conflict over Jill, and their general incompetence as police officers. Jim admits that they might be “fooling around” when Jack sees a wiring box on a landing and thinks it’s a bomb, but he still has enough pride to be upset that his son called the Stockholm Police Department to ask for help. reinforcement. But his candid conversations about Jill show that the two have a close relationship and that there is definitely heartbreak in their lives, though we still laugh when we see Jack chasing a bank robber with a hair clip.
The rest of the season of the limited series will dive into the lives of the other victims, which we can’t wait to see. Of course, the one that intrigues us the most is Lennart, whose bunny suit is quite, um, something. but we’re interested in getting into everyone’s inner life, because that will probably help us get to the bottom of this mystery, probably long before jack and jim. at this point, we don’t even know if the thief actually escaped or was posing as one of the hostages. Just the notion that we’re thinking so much about the plot makes us think this story will be entertaining.
sex and skin: none.
Parting Shot: Jim lets the hostages go home and tells them to think about things over the new year and see if they can think of any new observations. Jack is determined to get to the bottom of this heist.
Sleeping Star: It would be too easy to give this to the guy in the bunny suit, so we’ll just say we’re intrigued by the entire group of hostages.
the most pilot line: this may be the translation, but when the stockholm swat commander sees jack’s half-done haircut, he describes it this way: “it cuts you just right in the face and lands in a baby face, with a jagged mustache in a style I’ve never seen before.” That’s an insult, we guess.
our call: pass it on. anxious people manage to be funny and heartwarming and maintain a balance between the two. As the mystery unfolds and we learn about the hostages, we hope the show can strike the same balance.
joel keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting, and technology, but he’s not kidding himself: he’s a couch potato. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, Rollingstone.com, Vanityfair.com, Fast Company, and elsewhere.
stream anxious people on netflix