A man is given a box and finds himself caught in a battle between good and evil, with his soul on the line.
Remember the scene in The Matrix where Trinity ran down the halls of a building while the agents closed in on her and she fought them off and escaped? The opening to Storm is a very similar premise as a young woman runs through a seemingly abandoned building with men quickly on her tale. She is in possession of a strange box and hands it off to another girl before getting caught. She is beaten down and doused with gasoline as a sinister man in a black suit asks where the box is. Before he can light her on fire, she head butts him and escapes. The man roars like an animal before we cut to the opening title.
What looked like a Matrix type of fighting movie suddenly transforms into a strange movie that reminds me, of all things, of Amelie. That shook me a bit and left me wondering what this Swedish production was going to be all about. Unfortunately for this section of the movie, the voice over of the main character DD (Eric Ericson) is very uninteresting observations that never match the charm and quirkiness of the Jean-Pierre Jeunet hit, so it’s a good thing it returns to the action rather quickly. It still remains a strange mixture.
DD is a very unlikable antihero and while his self important observations can be slightly amusing, he comes across as a pompous jerk. The fact that the bad ass girl from the opening, Lova (Eva Rose), ends up jumping into his taxi cab seems like a strange coincidence. The fact that she runs off without a word to him seems strange. When she appears at his apartment and tells him she knows everything about him the movie proves how fucked up things are about to get. I’m not kidding, this movie is really strange.
Lova gives him a matchbook with a password on it and he follows it to a gaming convention. While there he meets the younger girl who was given the box earlier and she hands off the box to him before she is murdered, leaving him the main suspect wanted by the police. This all leads him back to his hometown where he must discover what is behind the strange box and why so many people are interested in it. The movie remains self referential as the strange incidents are relived in video games and comic books he comes across. There is even a strange sequence that reminds me of Terry Gilliam style filmmaking while DD reads his story in a comic book and we see it played out in a comic book style. As I said before, this movie is a mind fuck from beginning to end.
The movie has a good chance to become a cult favorite. It has all the prerequisites of an underground classic and remains an interesting piece of cinema. The acting is solid, with both Ericson and Rose proving good in their roles. There is a long stretch in the middle of the film, when DD is sent back to his hometown, where he is left alone in the seemingly empty town. I was reminded of the opening of 28 Days Later at this point and Ericson is solid in this clearly horror inspired section of the story, playing almost the entire sequence on his own.
The direction is excellent as well and the cinematography paints a vivid picture all throughout the movie. Director Mans Marlind comes from the world of television but you would never know from watching this film. This is a cinematic masterpiece and looks better than anything I would ever expect from a television director. I mentioned Terry Gilliam earlier and there is a big influence of his style of shooting in this movie. It reminds me a lot of 12 Monkeys by the way of Brazil and that remains a high compliment for Marlind.
While the movie starts off as a Matrix styled rip off, it turns into a psychological drama surrounding our main character. The box, and everything is represents, ties into DD’s troubled past and he must set off onto the road to self discovery to solve the riddle. The journey to this point is painted with such a deft touch that it is never dull and remains a marvel to watch. The battle is between good (represented by Lova) and evil (represented by the unnamed man in the black suit) and DD must face up to three memories from his youth that he blocked out to this day.
There is many religious aspects at work in this film but don’t let that sway you from checking this out. It is a brilliant, quirky movie that is challenging and never gives the viewer the easy way out. You are asked to think about what you are shown and are required to make decisions based on your own moral outlook. When you reach the end you may find yourself believing it means one thing while the person sitting next to you sees something completely different. That makes this movie a great success for me. What is better, never knowing the real truth and living blindly or knowing the truth and living with the tragedy? Nothing is easy and the movie is a complicated look at a man, his troubled past and his eventual redemption.
You can watch the movie in its original Swedish language (Dolby 5.1) or with an English dub (2.0 Stereo). Don’t be a loser, watch it in its original language as it was intended. There is also a trailer gallery and a stills gallery.