Nils Dickmann (Skarsgård) is introduced as “Citizen of the Year” through his expert snow-ploughing skills (something Stellan Skarsgård told Flickering Myth was a huge amount of fun). The Twin Peaks Norwegian village he lives within seems to include a vast array of different drug-financed criminals including Dickmann’s brother – though he decided to settle down. His son is killed unceremoniously in the opening moments and Nils first reaction is to blow his own head off, until his a friend of his son, Finn (Tobias Santelmann), pops up and changes his mind. As Nils works his way up the chain (with a single cross alongside a name when each character is killed) the stakes get higher and multiple gangs are involved, including Serbian’s led by Bruno Ganz.
In Order of Disappearance is a strange beast. With expected laughs from ludicrous moments involving snow-ploughs and para-skiers, it also hints at an interesting edge as henchmen are shown to have backstories and nuanced characteristics that fail to resonate throughout the story. We are told how “young people destroying themselves” is commonplace and police seem to shy away from tackling the crime too – is this part of the comedy? Or is this a serious side-note? It feels muddled or simply aimed at a niche audience.
In any case, director Hans Petter Moland manages to capture incredible vistas as snow cascades down across the screen and Skarsgård’s performance remains a haunting depiction of a grieving father; bitter, frustrated, focused on avenging his son’s death. Apparently, “Norwegian kids can’t disappear or bad obnoxious parents look for them”. Clearly, Skarsgård captures that bad (he is killing people) obnoxious parent. But In Order of Disappearance is an acquired taste. If dark humour and revenge-stories in snowy terrain is your cup of tea, then plough ahead.