×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Last Contract

The first feature to deal with the still-unsolved murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, "The Last Contract" is a tight and mostly plausible thriller helmed by Kjell Sundvall, who made local B.O. success "The Hunters" two years ago. Home-soil box office for his new pic looks set to be very good.

With:
With: Mikael Persbrandt, Michael Kitchen, Pernilla August, Reine Brynolfsson, Bjorn Floberg, Jacqueline Ramel, Cecilia Ljung, Joakim Forslund, Julia Dehnisch, Agnes Granberg, Johan Lindell, Mathias Henrikson, Donald Hogberg, Per Ragnar, Paul Birchard, Anders Ekborg, Leif Andrie. (Swedish and English dialogue)

The first feature to deal with the still-unsolved murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, “The Last Contract” is a tight and mostly plausible thriller helmed by Kjell Sundvall, who made local B.O. success “The Hunters” two years ago. Home-soil box office for his new pic looks set to be very good.

The controversial Palme was gunned down from behind while walking through central Stockholm with his wife late one February night in 1986. Over the years, the slaying has been attributed to everyone and everything from a lone gunman, South African agents, Turkish guerrillas and Swedish police officers to members of the local financial community and an international conspiracy.

Book on which pic is based is a novel by the pseudonymous “John W. Grow.” Filmmakers claim they don’t know who he or she is, but that the writer must be someone with a thorough knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the killing and its aftermath. (One candidate who’s been speculated in print is bestselling novelist Jan Guillou, author of the recent international thriller “Hamilton.”)

The script, however, differs much from the novel, especially at the end: Grow clearly points the finger at a thinly disguised leader of the Swedish business community as the man behind the murder, whereas the film is much more vague.

Pic starts with a young police officer, Roger (Mikael Persbrandt), on the verge of a breakdown. His colleague and friend Bo (Reine Brynolfsson) is ordered to find out what’s troubling him, and in a remote summerhouse, clearly watched by unseen strangers, Roger tells how he came to believe someone was plotting to murder the prime minister and how he came close to preventing the crime.

Film then flashes back to how the conspiracy was set in motion, and, in true thriller fashion, Sundvall takes us to different parts of the world to meet the conspirators. The actual killer (Michael Kitchen), who lives in Malta and is first shown carrying out a hit on a black politician in South Africa, travels to Sweden, starts the long job of finding the right time and place for the slaying, and contacts several criminals to be used as scapegoats.

When the police find out the killer, who is wanted by Interpol, has entered the country, Roger is given a routine mission to find him. After concluding the prime minister’s life may be in danger, Roger is abruptly taken off the case but starts to investigate on his own as the body count mounts.

Though the outcome is known, the movie is genuinely exciting and suspenseful, in the same manner as “The Day of the Jackal.” During the opening credits, Sundvall sets up the basic plot by cutting between TV newsreels of Palme’s most famous and controversial speeches, and rich men who are obviously displeased with what they hear. Tempo is rapid but not exhausting — even though a couple of the short visits to other countries could have been cut — not the least thanks to the fine perfs by Persbrandt, Brynolfsson and, as Roger’s progressively estranged wife, Pernilla August. English thesp Kitchen is also good as the ice-cold, methodical killer.

Special kudos to lenser Kjell Lagerroos, whose widescreen images are atmospheric and menacing, especially in the final half-hour. Score by Norwegian composers Geir Bohren and Bent Aserud has a big Hollywood feel to it.

The Last Contract

(SISTA KONTRAKTET)

Production: A Sonet Film release (in Sweden) of a FilmLance Intl. (Sweden)/Yellow Cottage (Norway)/Kinoproduction (Finland) production, in as-sociation with TV4, Svensk Filmindustri, Norsk Film, Filmhusateljierna, FilmTeknikk Norge, TV 1000, Sonet Film and MTV3. (International sales: BV Intl. Pictures, London.) Produced by Borje Hansson. Executive producer, Lars Blomgren. Co-producers, Aage Aaberge, Claes Olsson. Directed by Kjell Sundvall. Screenplay, Mats Arihn, Johan Bogaeus, Borje Hansson, based on a novel by "John W. Grow6.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Kjell Lagerroos; editor, Darek Hodor; music, Geir Bohren, Bent Aserud; production design, Birgitta Brensin; costume design, Karin Sundvall; sound (Dolby Digital), Bo Persson, Stefan Ljungberg. Reviewed at Swedish Film Institute screening room, Stockholm, Feb. 23, 1998. Running time: 114 MIN.

With: With: Mikael Persbrandt, Michael Kitchen, Pernilla August, Reine Brynolfsson, Bjorn Floberg, Jacqueline Ramel, Cecilia Ljung, Joakim Forslund, Julia Dehnisch, Agnes Granberg, Johan Lindell, Mathias Henrikson, Donald Hogberg, Per Ragnar, Paul Birchard, Anders Ekborg, Leif Andrie. (Swedish and English dialogue)With: Mikael Persbrandt, Michael Kitchen, Pernilla August, Reine Brynolfsson, Bjorn Floberg, Jacqueline Ramel, Cecilia Ljung, Joakim Forslund, Julia Dehnisch, Agnes Granberg, Johan Lindell, Mathias Henrikson, Donald Hogberg, Per Ragnar, Paul Birchard, Anders Ekborg, Leif Andrie.

More Film

  • Osopez Pitches Toon Adult comedy 'Pleasefixers'

    Animation!: Costa Rica's Osopez Pitches 'The Pleasefixers'

    Costa Rican animation studio Osopez is developing 3D CGI black comedy series “The Pleasefixers,” its most ambitious project to date, which has been selected for pitching at Ventana Sur’s 3rd Animation! showcase. Co-created by Osopez’s Ariel Arburola and Carlos Redondo, the 12-episode, 23-minute TV show targets young adults and adults, aged 18-34. “Pleasefixers” follows a [...]

  • ‘The Goalkeeper’s’ Gory Patiño Teams With

    ‘The Goalkeeper’s’ Gory Patiño Teams with Luis Reneo on ‘Pseudo’

    Bolivia’s Gory Patiño, writer-director for his country’s Academy Award submission “The Goalkeeper” – also the highest grossing Bolivian film in 15 years – and his frequent filmmaking partner, Spain’s Luis Reneo, are participating in this year’s Ventana Sur films in progress section with their socio-political thriller “Pseudo.” The project was also selected as a finalist [...]

  • Roy Ashton

    Ventana Sur: The Gersh Agency’s Roy Ashton Talks Pitching 101

    BUENOS AIRES — Roy Ashton, responsible for packaging and selling projects to markets and operators such as Amazon for Hollywood’s The Gersh Agency, spoke to a standing-room-only crowd about the process of pitching successfully to the U.S. market ahead of a script workshop he attended Tuesday afternoon. Ashton emphasized the draw of storytelling on an international [...]

  • Ainbo

    Ventana Sur: CMG Pre-Sells ‘Ainbo’ to Over Half the World (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Marking what looks very much like a new record for animation in Latin America, Edward Noeltner’s Cinema Management Group, the sales company behind Oscar-nominated “Loving Vincent,” has pre-sold “Ainbo – Spirit of the Amazon” to over half the planet. “Ainbo” was picked up by CMG in January 2017 off the first edition [...]

  • Breaking Glass Picks Up Romantic Drama

    Ventana Sur: Breaking Glass Picks up Threesome Drama ‘We Are Three’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Breaking Glass Pictures has clinched North American rights to Argentine helmer-scribe Marcelo Briem Stamm’s ménage-a-trois drama “We Are Three,” (“Somos Tr3s”), which it first spotted at the Buenos Aires’ 2017 Ventana Sur. Breaking Glass CEO Rich Wolff and Ida Martins of Media Luna New Films closed the deal at this year’s Ventana Sur. The film’s [...]

  • Chile’s Powerful Producers Assn. Aims For

    Ventana Sur: Chile’s Producers Look to Take Industry to Next Level

    BUENOS AIRES — Oscar-winning Chilean producer Juan de Dios Larraín (“A Fantastic Woman”), Sebastián Freund, co-creator of Chile’s biggest ever B.O. hit, “Stefan vs. Kramer,” and Gabriela Sandoval, co-director of Sanfic, Chile’s biggest film event, Sanfic festival, are joining forces to haul Chile’s much vaunted cinema into the 21st century. They will be joined by [...]

  • Portugal’s Pepe Rapazote to lead Leonardo

    Ventana Sur: Portugal’s Pepe Rapazote Toplines Argentine Leonardo Brzezicki’s ‘Almost in Love’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Portuguese actor Pêpê Rapazote (“Narcos,” “Shameless”) is toplining Argentine helmer-scribe Leonardo Brzezicki’s second feature, “Almost in Love.” The father-daughter drama is the third collaboration between Argentine shingle Ruda Cine and Rodrigo Teixeira’s RT Features of Brazil, a co-producer of such stellar titles as “Call Me by Your Name,” “Little Men,” “Patti Cake$” and “Frances Ha.” Derk-Jan [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content