To talk about Tommy (2014) is to talk about the last work of the Swedish director of Egyptian descent, Tarik Saleh. Behind a big robbery that left the Swedish capital in turmoil, Estelle (Moa Gammel) was ‘obliged’ go into exile outside the country, along with her daughter and her husband Tommy (the thief). After all this time in hiding, the protagonist goes back in Stockholm, and along with it comes her daughter Isabel (Inez Buckner) and the rumor that her husband may also return if she can not recover the pickings that belongs to them of assault. Estelle seeks among he former partners the whereabouts of the money. Fear and tension settles in all with the possibility of his return, even more so with the missing money. Estelle warns the fact that money does not appear, Tommy’s return will be a fait accompli, and it certainly will leave the streets of the beautiful Stockholm turned upside down. And all this in the week before Christmas. Is the city ready to welcome Tommy? The leitmotif of the film is centered on arrival of Estelle at Stockholm, which in turn triggers the action, either in the search for the money of robbery, either in the supposed return of Tommy.

Saleh built a beautiful plot along with the screenwriter Anton Hagwall. The story that Anton wrote and Tarik shows through images is based, a criminal network of Swedish organized crime, where the ambience of tension and violence hangs in the air, own of this underworld, all this in hand with the streets decorated for the arrival of Christmas, involved in a festive atmosphere and peace that marks this season of the year. This opposition between the beautiful and the ugly, was portrayed in a magnificent mode.

Tommy (2014) is a mystery thriller well paced, and even with its share of violence, dramatic tension and twists and turns – base elements of Nordic Noir, do not abuse these same elements, delivering the narrative to a family of women, all of them victims of circumstance and all violence and abuse of power by their lovers.

Tarik Saleh has a good group of actors, all with an excellent performance when embody their characters. Moa Gammel who plays the protagonist of the film, in my opinion it is the key to the success of the film, is her that it carries all the weight of the film on back. Estelle often seems a fragile and vulnerable person, but at the same time we see that she is capable to oppose all these criminals. And speaking of them, what to say about Steve? Steve is interpreted in a frighteningly brilliant way by actor Johan Rabaeus, who plays the role of an older criminal, almost in a fatherly way, once you’re married to Estelle’s mother. But at the same time it does not stop doing what he was born to do, torture and brutalize your opponents. Bobby (Ola Rapace) – appeared in James Bond film Skyfall (2012), is the old friend of Tommy and far from being a well-behaved boy, on the contrary, now with Tommy out of circulation it’s he who rules the streets. But more than just recover the money, Estelle wants to find her sister Blanca (Lykke Li) who is dating with dangerous Bobby. Positive note also for Lykke Li novice in these scenes, the talented singer of the Swedish indie pop, which until now she was more accustomed in stepping on other stages, but in the future may consider reconciling the two arts, and why not! As for Tommy, it’s a character ‘ghost’ throughout the film, we hear his name often, which alone generates some discomfort and fear in others. What is perceived is that this is someone very powerful, even the director leaves open the existence or nonexistence of him. At the beginning we saw Estelle carry some ashes of a person, we do not know from whom. A possible interpretation is that she wants outwit the police, and that they stop to search for her husband. Perhaps more a bluff, typical of poker games, as well as the return of Tommy.

Use of the music throughout the film is another point in favor of the Swedish director’s work. Soundtrack five-stars!

After directing two documentaries, Sacrificio – Who betrayed Che Guevara (2001) and Gitmo – The New Rules of War (2005), and the animated film Metropia (2009) which earned him a nomination of Sweden for the Nordic Council Film Prize, Saleh brings us a film about crime, but more than that, it’s a film that tells the story of women. But more than just wives and mothers are women who when it’s needed not close their eyes to fight, which lionesses in African savannas.

CategoriesIssue 10

Paulo Antunes studied Art Studies at the University of Algarve in Faro, Portugal. He has worked in many different areas, from picking fruit to being a waiter in a restaurant, but has always had a passion for film and music. He has participated in the organisation of two film culture shows: the 5th Filmic Culture with the theme of the importance of music in the cinema, and the 2nd Filmic Culture with the theme of the theory of Superman. He completed a traineeship in CIAC and was also the manager of a Portuguese punk rock band named Defying Control. Currently he works on various film projects.