×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Swedish Auto

Fully loaded, with spot-on performances and remarkable direction, "Swedish Auto" weaves the kind of spell that can only come from a sure-handed storyteller. Like the '67 Volvo referenced in the title, this naturalistic character piece isn't build for speed -- or comfort, either. But it takes you places before you even know you're moving. Indie audiences and festival crowds will want to hitch a ride.

With:
Carter - Lukas Haas Darla - January Jones Leroy - Lee Weaver Bobby - Chris Williams Ann - Brianne Davis Shelley - Tim deZarn Pam - Mary Mara

This article was updated on July 6, 2006.

Fully loaded, with spot-on performances and remarkable direction, “Swedish Auto” weaves the kind of spell that can only come from a sure-handed storyteller. Like the ’67 Volvo referenced in the title, this naturalistic character piece isn’t build for speed — or comfort, either. But it takes you places before you even know you’re moving. Indie audiences and festival crowds will want to hitch a ride.

“Swedish Auto” marks the debut of a singular talent in Derek Sieg, writer-helmer of this charming, poignant drama about marginalized people.

Carter (sad-eyed Lukas Haas), a character who seems like a combination of Holden Caulfield and Boo Radley, was orphaned long ago by a car crash. Carter now is the go-to mechanic in a Charlottesville, Va., auto garage run by Leroy (Lee Weaver) and staffed by Carter and Leroy’s ill-tempered son, Bobby (Chris Williams).

Popular on Variety

Among his failings, Carter is a stalker, albeit one without much ambition. He hangs around the apartment of beautiful blond violinist Ann Shelton’s (Brianne Davis), but only to watch her and listen to her play. He has no friends, a vague attraction to astronomy and a static attraction to Darla (January Jones), who works at the local diner and has a thing for Carter.

Out of this comes a very patient, very confident revelation of character and background, buoyed by the evocative music of Josh Robertson and expert sound editing of Ahmad Shirazi. The effect is both dreamlike and immediate; you can smell the brake fluid and grease, and at the same time be swept up by the romance.

Haas covers the waterfront of emotions, never missing a beat; he and Jones are adorable as the oddly matched couple who are treated badly, mostly because their abusers can get away with it.

There’s a well-calibrated naivete at the heart of “Swedish Auto,” which together with Richard Lopez’s expert cinematography and Sieg’s creative use of a limited budget, make the movie a study in state-of-the-art-indie filmmaking.

Swedish Auto

Production: An Evil Number 30, Wildcat Hollow and Albemarle Films presentation of a Lab Entertainment Group production. Produced by Tyler Davidson. Executive producers, Chris Dougherty, Jennifer Dodson, Jay R. Ferguson, Andrew Kavovit. Directed, written by Derek Sieg.

Crew: Camera (color), Richard V. Lopez; editor, Daniel Valverde; music, Josh Robertson; production designer, Ruth De Jong; art director, Kevin Pierce; set decorator, Taylor Savas Reese; costume designer, Amelia Zontini; makeup, Laura Garrett; sound, Kyle Ryan; supervising sound editor, Ahmad Shirazi; special effects, Barry Davis; associate producer, Hathalee Higgs; assistant director, Kahlil Pedizisai; casting, Anya Coloff, Michael Nicolo. Reviewed at Los Angeles Film Festival (competing), June 27, 2006. Running time: 97 MIN.

With: Carter - Lukas Haas Darla - January Jones Leroy - Lee Weaver Bobby - Chris Williams Ann - Brianne Davis Shelley - Tim deZarn Pam - Mary Mara

More Film

  • Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt in

    Joanne Froggatt Treads Singapore Red Carpet, Revisits ‘Downton Abbey’ Memories

    “Downton Abbey,” the feature adaptation of the hit British television series of the same name, had its local premiere at the 30th Singapore International Film Festival on Friday night. Representing the film on the red carpet was Golden Globe best supporting actress-prizewinner Joanne Froggatt, who played lady’s maid Anna Bates in all six seasons of [...]

  • THE IRISHMAN (2019)Ray Ramano (Bill Bufalino

    Despite Controversy, 'The Irishman' Is Netflix's Biggest Theatrical Release at Home and Abroad

    Despite friction in the U.S. over its release in select cinemas, Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” is enjoying the biggest theatrical rollout of any Netflix film to date, with key international markets screening the movie and bolstering its profile as awards season gets underway. The nearly three-and-a-half-hour mob epic has secured relatively large releases in major [...]

  • Stone, guitarist for Taiwanese pop band

    Mayday Guitarist, Stone Rallies Fans at Singapore Film Festival

    Stone, the Taiwanese performer who has gone from being the guitarist in Mayday to a promising acting career, drew crowds on Friday, the first full day of the Singapore International Film Festival. Speaking at Projector, the indie theater inside the historical Golden Mile building, some two hundred fans gathered to hear the artist share career [...]

  • The Tempest (concept art)

    Film Bazaar: Rinkel Film Boards Tamil Western ‘The Tempest’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netherlands production outfit Rinkel Film (“Rafiki”) has reteamed with India’s Stray Factory (“Nirvana Inn”) for Tamil language Western “The Tempest” (aka “Aasaimugam”). It is to be directed by emerging Indian filmmaker Arun Karthick. The two companies previously co-produced Karthick’s communal bigotry tale, “Nasir,” which benefited from a grant of €50,000 ($55,350) under the Netherlands Film [...]

  • ‘Wallace and Gromit’ Studio Aardman to

    ‘Wallace and Gromit’ Studio Aardman to Make Short Film ‘Robin Robin’ for Netflix

    “Shaun the Sheep” and “Wallace and Gromit” producer Aardman is making “Robin Robin,” a short film, for Netflix. The project marks a move away for Aardman from working with the BBC, which has broadcast the Oscar-winning stop-motion specialist’s hit projects over the years. “Robin Robin,” which will bow around Christmas 2020, is about a bird [...]

  • Graham Norton to Host 2020 BAFTA

    Graham Norton to Host 2020 BAFTA Film Awards Ceremony 

    Popular British talk show host Graham Norton has been tapped to host the 2020 BAFTA Film Awards ceremony. Norton currently fronts the ratings-winning “The Graham Norton Show“ for the BBC. In assuming hosting duties for the upcoming BAFTA ceremony on Feb. 2, he will be taking over from “Absolutely Fabulous“ star Joanna Lumley, who hosted [...]

  • “Facing It,” an eight-minute 30 second

    U.K. Short 'Facing It' Takes Top Prize at 2019 VIEW Awards

    “Facing It,” a claymation/live-action film about how relationships mold people, has won the 2019 VIEW Conference Award for best short film. The film was written and directed by Sam Gainsborough and co-written by Louisa Wood and produced at the National Film and Television School’s Beaconsfield Studio in Beaconsfield, U.K. The VIEW Awards are an offshoot [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content