(A Somewhat Gentle Man)

Norway 2010 - 103 minutes

director.gif (905 bytes)Hans Petter Moland


Stellan Skarsgård - Ulrik
Bjørn Floberg - Rune Jensen
Gard B. Eidsvold - Rolf

Bjorn Sundquist- Sven

Jan Gunnar Røise - Geir
Aksel Hennie - Sami
Jannike Kruse Jåtog - Merete


Berlin Int'l Film Festival - February 16, 2010
Norwegian theatrical release - March 19, 2010
USA theatrical release - January 14, 2011


It's difficult to age with dignity - even for criminals. Ulrik has served a 12-year sentence for murdering his wife's lover. Now he's out with no future, no place to live and no job. Fortunately, his old crew wants to help him. His gangster boss gets him an apartment and a job as a mechanic. He is given a new start. However, there's an old score that has to be settled.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)PRODUCTION NOTES:

Filming began at the end of March 2009 in Alnabru, Norway, an industrial section of Oslo and continued through mid-May. The director and his cast first held a press conference. The photo below shows (left to right): Bjorn Sundquist, Bjorn Floberg, Aksel Hennie, Moland's wife, Hans Petter Moland, Jannike Kruse, Stellan, Kjersti Holmen and Gard Eidsvold.

The script lanquished for a long time before the director recognized the potential in it. Moland says, "This film is something I had to do. It is an irresistably funny dark comedy." He has nothing but praise for his lead star - "I think Stellan  is an incredibly gifted actor. I will be very content working with him. I can dare to be bold because we have a chemistry with each other and we're able to take chances that will affect the outcome."

Stellan jokingly announced, "I do not have to sing and dance this time!" This film was an easy choice for Stellan who greatly admires Moland. He says, "We're like an old married couple and I have separation anxiety... I think the script is incredibly funny and I have time now. Hans Petter and I have expected that we would find something together. I think he is one of the world's best directors. He gives clear direction, knows what he wants and you still have a large degree of freedom when you work with him.. He lets you know what you are when you stand in front of the camera." As far as his co-stars, Stellan explains, "It will be nice to work with the two Bjorns and Gard again. Showing no traces of disappointment in having to leave Hollywood for Alnabru, he adds, "What matters are the people I work with."

Moland on the script:
I've never been very protective of dialogue in a script, but in this case, I have been very Nazi with the actors that they should stick to what is written.

Stellan on Moland:
His casting is fantastic. Here are some of Scandinavia's best actors doing things they've never done before. He gives the actors enough freedom while keeping his control. He does not say how to do the scene, he talks about what it should contain, what must come forward tone and so on. Then you have a tremendous freedom and can create life.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)Screened at several film festivals (partial list):

Berlin Int'l Film Festival - February 15, 2010 (Germany)
Melbourne Int'l Festival - July 25, 2010 (Australia)
Two Riversides Film & Art Festival - July 31, 2010 (Poland)
Helsinski Int'l Film Festival - September 22, 2010 (Finland)
Rio de Janeiro Int'l Film Festival - September 24, 2010 (Brazil)
Edmonton Int'l Film Festival - September 27, 2010 (Canada)
Milwaukee Film Festival - October 1, 2010  (Wisconsin)
Mill Valley Film Festival - October 15, 2010  (California)


button_box.gif (205 bytes)PRAISE:

"Skarsgård is in class with his great timing and his laconic expression."   ...Kai Arne Johansen, Cinerama.no

"From the moment the ever-dignified Stellan Skarsgård steps into view sporting a wispy ponytail, you know this Norwegian crime comedy will be a sly delight... Skarsgård's performance is understated genius; his expressionless participation in the most squirm-inducing sex scene ever filmed will rank high on this year's honor roll of comedic highlights."   ...Colin Covert, Star Tribune

Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland and Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård are a match made in cinema heaven... In the criminal comedy 'A Somewhat Gentle Man' they achieve a cool, deceptively simple minimalism which is both perfectly timed and brilliantly pared-down... In one hilarious scene, an arhythmic Ulrik tries to dance alone to the Latin music. In case anyone hasn’t realised it, Skarsgard is an excellent physical comedian."  ...Howard Feinstein, Screen Daily

"Skarsgård, mostly a character actor in American films, proves once again that, in fact, he's a leading man of depth and nuance."   ...Marshall Fine, Huffington Post

"Only an actor of Skarsgård's resources could do so little and make such a big impression."   ...Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer.

"The talented Swedish-born actor Stellan Skarsgård has a face that’s almost instantly forgettable. I mean that as praise. His blandness — he’s not quite handsome, not quite homely — lets him slip unnoticed into the various skins of his characters, and under our skins as well. Suddenly we realize this unmemorable man is doing uncommonly fine and focused work. Hollywood has used Skarsgård as sniffy Euro-snobs ('Good Will Hunting') and reliable exotica (his Bootstrap Bill in the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' series); what he doesn’t get is a lot of leads. So the poker-faced Norwegian crime comedy “A Somewhat Gentle Man’’ is welcome, in part because Skarsgård is almost the whole show but also because the actor doesn’t use the role as an excuse to put on a big performance — to do more. On the contrary, he quite wonderfully does less."  ...Ty Burr, Boston Globe

"With its casually handled subplots, A Somewhat Gentle Man is ultimately a character study of a rather quiet character. Skarsgård underplays his man of few words, but he’s captivating and charming nonetheless, particularly when he watches Geir and smiles ear to ear."     ...Tricia Olszewski, Washington City Paper

"Played for laughs drawn from characters rather than funny lines, the Norwegian film is a charmer... It's the kind of film that sneaks up on you and leaves a warm smile. It should do very well in international markets and festivals will line up to offer applause... Skarsgård, who uses his heavy body and seen-it-all eyes to portray a man whose acceptance of the way the wind blows can give way to sudden and matter-of-fact brutality. His face also lights up in delighted bemusement when he realizes now and then that he really hasn't seen it all."  ...Ray Bennett, The Hollywood Reporter

"When Skarsgård takes a break from the great American films and sets out with Moland, he adds character to the film as well as an extra dimension of professionalism and credibility. Through a unique presence, he communicates largely through body language, and it works perfectly!"   ...Simen Beck, Filmbyen.no

"Skarsgård delivers a good performance... He is a master of comic timing. At the same time he manages to convey the soreness and uncertainty in a convincing manner."   ... Svein Rune Nyland, Rbnett.no

"With the sheer volume of his supporting roles in English language films such as the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' trilogy, it’s extremely easy to take the excellent work Stellan Skarsgård does for granted. He’s the type of actor who disappears into roles, and his performance here is no exception. He’s not acting, he simply is Ulrik. The rest of the cast also all turn in excellent performances that play off of Skarsgård and each other perfectly."  ...George Hickman, Scene-stealers.com

"Hans Petter Moland's new film will be remembered for some of the time funniest sex scenes in Norwegian film history... The humor is direct and raw, but also subtle. Writer Kim Fupz Akesson has done the preliminary work with the creative script. But Moland has processed the goods through an ensemble that adds heart and soul into the characters. Skarsgård doesn't talk much, but portrays a gamut of emotions through small eyes, a smile, a frown or a worried glance... This is funny, crazy and entertaining."  ...Borghild Maaland, VG Nett

"The combination of Hans Petter Moland and Stellan Skarsgård is extraordinarily successful. The fact is there is good chemistry between the director and actor and Stellan Skarsgård has never been better as he carries the film, helped by a handful of veterans of Norwegian film."   ...Geir Kamsvåg, Film & Cinema

"Skarsgård took home the Best Actor award at Fantastic Fest and rightfully so. Playing a man composed entirely of contradictions, Skarsgård says more with an angry glare or sad smile than most actors can say with a two-minute monologue."   ...Jacob Hall, Chud.com

"It's a particular pleasure to see Skarsgård centerstage for a change after a long run of character roles in Hollywood fare, particularly the frothy likes of 'Mamma Mia!' and 'Angels and Demons,' in which his talents have been a little wasted. He anchors 'Man' with morose docility, a gentleness per the title, that beautifully sets off the rest of the ensemble's flashier displays."   ...Leslie Felperin, Variety

Skarsgård's performance is precise and cautious but commanding all the same. Slightly hunched but quiet, his graying ponytail dragging out over the overalls he wears at the car body shop where Jensen finds him a job, his Ulrik is somebody waiting for life to find him again. Incredibly, Skarsgård is able to make this waiting compelling."   ...Chris Barsanti, Filmcritic.com

"Stellan Skarsgård gives a sensitive performance that balances fragility and toughness because you can sense that sadness and regret lurk beneath Ulrik’s macho appearance. He doesn’t share his feelings much, but he doesn’t need to because his eyes speak volumes about what he’s truly feeling."   ...NYC Movie Guru

"The movie is an unassuming and surprising piece of entertainment that quietly defies more than a little convention in its mix of laughs and sweetness. Skarsgård shines in the kind of starring role that he’ll never get in Hollywood. And that’s not just because he shows his wang."   ...Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects

"Charms with quiet humor... Stellan Skarsgård is irresistable in the role of Ulrik... His contrived raised eyebrows and timid body language portray a subdued man through precision acting, and sent this reviewer into fits of laughter time after time."  ...Håvard Lund, OA Norway