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Film / In Order of Disappearance

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"You tired yet, old man?"

In Order of Disappearance is a 2014 Norwegian Black Comedy crime revenge film by Hans Petter Moland. Stellan Skarsgård plays Nils, an ordinary, upstanding citizen from a small mountain village, whose son Ingvar is murdered by a local criminal organization.

Frustrated with local law enforcement, Nils takes matters into his own hands. His quest inadvertently sparks an international drug war between home town boss The Count (“Greven” in Norwegian, played by Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen) and a Serbian syndicate run by Papa (Bruno Ganz). Everyone is out for revenge, and the result is stark, brutal, and darkly hilarious.

A remake, Cold Pursuit, was released in 2019 and stars Liam Neeson, and is also directed by Hans Petter Moland.


This film provides examples of:

  • Adult Fear: Death of a child; first attributed to an unknown drug addiction, then to murder.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Nils confrontation with Jappe exemplifies this. When the goon threatens Nils to "go back to his hick village before he gets hurt" and flashes his holstered gun, Nils just takes a moment to step back... Then throttles Jappe repeatedly with punch after savage punch.
  • Black Comedy: Sprinkled liberally throughout to leaven the tale of death and revenge.
    • Nils’ lip sticking to the cold gun barrel when Finn interrupts his suicide attempt.
    • “Sunshine or welfare.”
    • “Please step off the rug.”
  • Church Going Villain: All the Serbian gangsters dutifully cross themselves while speaking about the boss's son, who's just died. It's also implied with the characters in general, each of whom is marked by a religious symbol beside their name (aside from the Count, who's given the Humanist icon), though in many cases that was most probably nominal.
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  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The Count and Papa both adore their sons.
  • Gayngster: The Count's lieutenant and one of his soldiers are in a relationship, which they keep from the others (who are presumably homophobic). You can see his lieutenant is visibly distraught when the Count kills his lover, and later he calls the Serbians to tip them off.
  • Gilligan Cut: The Count gets into a fierce argument with his ex-wife for, of all things, the fact that he doesn't even offer his son a healthy breakfast, feeding him such garbage as Fruit Loops. The Count is highly irritated as he is a vegan. Cut to a shot of his son and dutiful henchman both enjoying a bowl of Fruit Loops.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Nils is a loving father and husband, dedicated public servant, and his village’s citizen of the year. He also takes down an international drug operation in revenge for his son’s murder.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Nils’s brother Wingman tells the Count that he himself was responsible for the henchmen Nils had killed. Wingman flatly states that, because he has colon cancer, he isn’t concerned with what the Count will do to him.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: All of the gangsters call the hitman "The Chinaman" despite him being a Dane with Japanese ancestry. Even when he's told otherwise by the man, Nils still uses the name.
  • Mooks: Charmingly subverted. The henchmen on both sides are richly developed characters (proportionate to their screen time), either with their own motivations, story arcs, or simply by giving each a few minutes of Tarantino-esque banter.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Losing his son drives Nils into vigilantism.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: The Norwegian organization is (mostly) racist and xenophobic. The Count, especially, can never remember that his erstwhile business partners are Serbians, not Albanians.
  • Put on a Bus: Nils’ wife exits the movie early on, after his second night of Bronsonian vigilantism.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Nils’ quest.
  • Rule of Three:
    • The plot is driven by three father-son relationships.
    • At the end, the surviving cast members represent the three ages of man:
    ’’Papa’’, the Serbian boss, is the grandfather.
    ’’Nils’’, is the father.
    ’’Petter’’, The Count’s son, is the son.
  • Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: The Count is convinced that the attacks on his gang are coming from the ruthless Serbian gang that has been muscling their way into Norwegian organized crime. As a result, Nils Dickman's actions spark a Mob War between the Norwegians and the Serbs.
  • Scenery Porn: Take Fargo and add European mountain vistas. Even the reflections in this film are gorgeous.
  • Small Role, Big Impact:
    • The entire plot is set in motion by Finn, a friend of Nils’ son Ingvar.
    • Ingvar himself has only a few minutes of screen time, despite being Nils’ central motivation for the rest of the film.
  • Shout-Out: To Taken. When discussing why his son’s death was made to look like an accident, one of the gangsters tells Nils, “ had to be an overdose. When it’s murder, there’s always some father who comes looking for justice.”
  • Stupid Evil: Without any supporting evidence or attempt at parley, The Count decides his Serbian business partners are responsible for his disappearing workforce. He orders a mook killed in retaliation, not realizing the mook in question is actually son of the Serbian mob's boss, who then ''will not'' make peace even when it's offered to him.
  • There Will Be Toilet Paper: Nils cuts himself shaving and goes through the rest of his preparation for his award dinner with toilet paper stuck to his face, showing his general lack of familiarity with anything formal.
  • Tongue on the Flagpole: Nils' lip sticks momentarily to the barrel of his rifle when he attempts to eat his gun.
  • Vomiting Cop: When they discover the Serbian boss’ son hanging dead on a sign, one of the village cops blows chunks. This is considerately kept just out of frame.
  • Would Hit a Girl: When The Count's ex-wife comes in and harangues him about kidnapping their son (though it was actually someone else) he knocks her out with a single punch.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: After kidnapping The Count’s son right off a playground, Nils does everything he can to keep the boy safe. He tucks him in, reads a bedtime story, and even lets the kid sit in his lap and drive his snow plow. Due to his kind manner, Rune easily comes with him and doesn't resist despite realizing that Nils isn't one of his dad's men. Of course, Nils never planned to hurt him, only lure The Count in.

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