There is something decidedly Swedish about the fact that people arriving for a movie premiere get to decide whether or not they’ll do they paparazzi parade. In other countries, only the celebs get within spitting distance of the red carpet: us plebs get shunted in the back door so that no one ever knows we were there.
With that in mind, the first time I attended such an event in Stockholm, I vaguely assumed that I must be at the pleb entrance (as I was allowed to enter it) and blindly followed the people in front of me… to find myself standing, quite literally like a deer in headlights, on the red carpet, in front of a bunch of Swedish paparazzi who stared at me blankly. In a state of what I can only describe as utter panic, I scuttled rapidly backwards, crashed into the people entering behind me and pretty much caused Swedish celebrity domino pile up.
A little while later, I went to another premiere as the date of a friend of mine, a fairly famous Swedish actress. As we entered the cinema, I said I’d see her at the bar and prepared to slip away through the pleb turn off just before the red carpet.
“I’m not doing it by myself!” she hissed, yanking me into full view of the photographers.
“Hej Susanne! This way Susanne!” they all shouted.
You have no idea how hard it is to mutter, “Claire Duffy, I’m a writer, don’t bother about me,” while smiling inanely, shuffling along sideways and pretending to be invisible, all at the same time.
For the Tommy premiere this week, however, I was prepared and cleverly arrived ten minutes after my friend, a different, though equally bossy as it happens, Swedish actress, and so managed to make it into the cinema unscathed by any red carpet shenanigans.
The Rigoletto Cinema on Kungsgatan was packed, and all the stars of the film were in attendance: Moa Gammel, Ola Rapace, Lykke Li, Johan Rabeus, Alexander Stocks, plus director Tarik Saleh, who I spotted rocking up in a taxi – ahh Stockholm glamour!
Tommy is the story of Estelle (Moa Gammel), a sort of Lady MacBeth of Stockholm’s gangland. She and her husband – the eponymous Tommy – go on the run after he takes part in one of Sweden’s biggest ever robberies. When she returns a week later claiming that he is on his way and demanding his share of the takings, she sets off a violent wildfire of Chinese whispers which threatens to implode the criminal underworld and threatens her young daughter’s safety.
It’s a tight, character driven thriller spearheaded by an excellent performance from Moa Gammel. Estelle is far from likeable, but her determination, tenacity and ability to hold her own amongst Stockholm’s most dangerous men, makes her compelling, and Moa managed to find just the right touches of vulnerability to keep her human.
I liked that the fact that Estelle is a mother is central to her character: she may be off to terrify a gangster, but she has to sort out childcare first.
The film is beautifully shot, though occasionally at the expense of pace: at times we lingered just a little too long on artistic shots which held up the action a bit. As you might expect from a gangland thriller, it’s also not for the squeamish. The violence isn’t overdone, but I did close my eyes and cringe more than once (though to be fair, I am extremely squeamish). Though imperfect, I thinkthat Tommy is a well worth checking out, particularly if you were a fan of the Snabba Cash trilogy.
After the screening, what seemed like the entire cast and crew crowded onto the stage, to cheers from the audience. Producer Kristina Åberg made a speech thanking everyone who had been involved in the film, and also, it seemed, everyone else that she had ever met in her entire life, which was rather sweet. Tarik added his thanks, then they announced that they hadn’t bothered with flowers (usually the producer, director and stars of the film are presented with bouquets onstage) so as to put more money behind the bar for the after party, which was met with appreciative cheers!
Featured Image: Atmo Film