Roland Hassel

Roland Hassel


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Context can be everything and it's likely that the more you bring to Måns Månsson's odd docu-fiction hybrid the more you are likely to get out of it.

The Roland Hassel of the title is a fictional detective, played in a popular Eighties Swedish TV series by Lars-Erik Berenett. Here the film imagines the character in retirement, still obsessed by the real-life unsolved assassination of prime minister Olaf Palme that happened in 1986, when the detective was at the height of his powers. Each year, we learn that he sets about re-enacting the events that led to Palme's shooting in a bid to work out what truly happened.

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Inevitably, it's a conceit that will work best to those who have a knowledge of the Hassel character and who, will also no doubt appreciate Månsson's pains to replicate the feel of the 80s through the use of grainy VHS style footage, that seems as washed out as the detective. For those for whom Hassel has no resonance, there is less to enjoy, although Månsson's absurdist tone, capturing the futility of obsession in all its deadpan glory, creates some amsuing moments.

The best of these is the sight of Hassel attempting to make himself understood to an phone auto-interface which stubbornly refuses to grant him the taxi he so desires, although as with several scenes, Månsson dances perilously close to creating individual sketches rather than a flowing narrative. The writer/director's film nudges at notions of how quickly people forget, even when it comes to the brilliance of a detective or horror of a murder and, if it's a curiosity more than a keeper, it still shows he has a talent for finding comedy in unlikely places.

Reviewed on: 06 Aug 2013
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The iconic retired detective sets out to solve the mystery behind the assassination of Olof Palme.
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Director: Måns Månsson

Writer: Måns Månsson, Olov Svedelid

Starring: Lars-Erik Berenett, Paul Fried, Sven Anér, Hans Johansson, Göran Lambertz, Torbjörn Klartell, Roland Eriksson, Täppas Fogelberg

Year: 2012

Runtime: 74 minutes

Country: Sweden


EIFF 2013

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