Biographical films and television programmes, also referred to as biopics, frequently take themselves considerably too seriously. There are other factors at play, but the main ones are the subject’s attempt to exaggerate or glorify themselves, and, of course, the director’s lack of creativity. As a result, they take on the appearance of audio-visual renditions of the corresponding Wikipedia pages. The Social Network (2010), Potato Dreams of America (2021), 127 Hours (2010), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Catch Me If You Can (2002), and Bronson (2008) are some of the uncommon examples of directors breaking that mould. Other examples include Rocketman (2019), Tick, Tick Boom! (2021), Loving Vincent (2017), and Bronson (2008). It’s time to officially welcome Jonas Kerlund and Clark (2022) to our esteemed list.
The Netflix miniseries about Clark Olofsson is co-written by Fredrik Agetoft and Peter Arrhenius and co-directed, co-executive produced, and co-written by Kerlund (Bill Skarsg rd). It runs parallel to his early years, teenage years, adult years, and later years as a family guy. Yet the Norrmalmstorg bank robbery, in which Jan-Erik Olsson (Christopher Nordenrot) called Olofsson while holding the bank and four employees hostage, is the main focus of the story. In addition, Olofsson not only created the phrase “Stockholm Syndrome” but also stopped Olsson from killing the hostages. Yet even before achieving so and becoming a national hero, Olofsson always managed to be the nation’s darling, no matter how much money he stole or how many murders he tried. To sort through Olofsson’s truths and lies and discover why he is such a compelling person, write Clark.
Before discussing the themes and performances, let’s take a moment to tip our collective hats to the film’s direction by Kerlund, Eric Broms’ cinematography, Mikael Kerfeldt’s music, Rickard Krantz and Nils Mostrm’s editing, Emma Fairley and Dave Marshall’s production design, Paulius Jurevicius and Moa Nyman’s art direction, and Susie Coulthard’s costume design. The entire show sounds and looks like a million dollars/kronors, from the very first frame to the very last. Everything about the cross-cutting between all the events in Olofsson’s life—the title cards, the transition scenes, the obvious and not-so-obvious VFX, the subjective camerawork—is just great. Each chapter of Olofsson’s life is given a unique colour palette. Hear me out: any piece of media (in this case, a miniseries) that has the guts to launch into a song and dance scene to convey the protagonist’s emotions to the viewers is a success. Clark also owns two of them.
The narrative can sometimes exacerbate or even contradict the complexity of the visual storytelling. Although writers Kerlund, Agetoft, and Arrhenius may be swinging for the fences with all their might, they never lose sight of the four elements that make up Olofsson as a person. Firstly, materialism. Olofsson will ruin everything, no matter how well things are going for him, by robbing a bank to obtain something wholly materialistic. Two are female. That requires little explanation. There is a minute-long, exquisitely hand-drawn, animated segment featuring Olofsson discussing the female reproductive system if you believe it does. Third, having a following. Four, if he is imprisoned legally, he will attempt to flee by any means necessary. The strategy can include building a ladder out of rakes or pretending he wants to be a real revolutionary rather than playing one in a play for community service. By playing with these aspects of Olofsson’s existence, Kerlund, Agetoft, and Arrhenius have a lot of fun while keeping a slapstick sense of comedy and horniness.
Now, just as you’re about to conclude that perhaps Clark is exalting this fiend’s deeds, kerlund pauses the action to underscore the phoniness of this purported national hero. Due to his harsh upbringing and the fact that his mother was institutionalised when he was a very small child, he makes it possible for you to empathise with him. But unlike many other biopics, Kerlund never excuses Olofsson’s response to that trauma by blaming their environment for everything that went wrong with them. Instead, he contrasts Olofsson’s past and present to demonstrate that despite having a difficult past, he had numerous opportunities to accept the love that was heaped upon him. And he demonstrates how he consistently wasted power as a result of his ego, greed, and craving for power. It’s true that you will support Clark since he is so endearing, attractive, and intelligent. Nevertheless, it comes with a caution, telling you to proceed at your own risk because Clark will invariably let you down by acting inappropriately.
Tor Nyman, Johannes Persson, and Donatas Simkauskas should all be applauded for their casting decisions. All of the actors, including those without a line or who are only in a single frame, are excellent, including Alicia Agneson, Vilhelm Bomgren, Sandra Ilar, Hanna Bj rn, Agnes Lindstr m Bolmgren, Isabelle Grill (there is a small Midsommar reunion with Blomgren), Adam Lundgren, Malin Levanon, Daniel Hallberg, Bj rn Gustafsson, Christoffer Nordenrot, So Yet, let’s face it—this is a Bill Skarsgrd acting lesson, and we’re all in class.
The dude has an electrifying presence on screen. Even if you have no idea of the magnetic appeal Olofsson possessed in his prime, watching Skarsgrd perform numerous sex acts would make you queasy. His comedic timing is simply perfect, and his humour can be dark, slapstick, or awkward. It’s astounding how he manipulates his physically and verbal inflections to induce hatred, love, and cringe. He sings well. He’s a dancer. He is capable of some pretty crazy stunts. And with one specific boat-based sequence, it’s safe to say that Skarsgrd has joined Rocking Star Yash (KGF Chapter 2) and Adam Driver (Annette) in the sub-genre of drunken men venturing into a sea storm as a metaphor for their internal agony (which is a metaphor for them being drunk on their own ego). Therefore, if it wasn’t already obvious, Bill Skarsgrd’s portrayal of Clark Olofsson is one of the best performances of the year (so far), and it will be difficult to beat it.
It goes without saying that Clark by Jonas Kerlund is a must-see. It’s one of the most visually creative biopics, as was previously remarked. The story is as disorganised as the material it deals with. It has a heart that beats. But, there is also a sincere effort made to uncover the real Clark Olofsson in order to comprehend why he is the way he is. The miniseries has a professional appearance, audio quality, and motion. Also, Bill Skarsgrd delivered a performance to remember. No other biopic that will succeed Clark has the justification to be an audio-visual photocopy of a Wikipedia entry, which is a side note (which is a main note). It’s best if you don’t make that biopic at all if you aren’t that invested in the person whose tale you’re portraying and if all you want to do is improve your subject matter’s reputation. But if you’re determined to make it, you should perhaps watch Clark many hundred times before recording a single second of video.
See More: Clark Ending, Explained: What Led To The Inception Of Stockholm Syndrome? Is Clark Olofsson Dead Or Alive?
Jonas Kerlund will be directing the 2022 crime thriller miniseries Clark.