28 December 2005 | Antagonisten
Interesting on several levels
I just finished watching this new TV-series recently shown on Swedish television. I'm no huge fan of Swedish drama i must admit. The budget is usually low and the actors are the ones we see in every movie and series, again and again. But this is something else altogether.
The story of "Lasermannen" (The Laser Man) is one that everyone in Sweden knows. He was the madman that used a rifle with a laser sight, as well as a revolver, to shoot several immigrants in Sweden in the early 1990's. He wounded several and killed one. After a long search he was finally apprehended and is still serving his life sentence in prison. This three-part series show his life from younger years up to the point of the murders and his subsequent capture.
The approach here is rather different from the standard approach in Swedish drama. Instead of using the standard "A-list" actors they have chosen to use a mix of seasoned character-actors and less well-known names. The footage is mostly grainy with washed-out colors giving it a documentary feel, which suits the story well. The lack of Hollywood-envy feels liberating. The choice of actors was excellent in my opinion. Especially David Dencik as John Ausonius, Lasermannen himself, is excellent. I had never seen him before myself and the fact that he was rather unknown lets him slip comfortably into the role of this madman. And he feels eerily genuine. The rest of the cast also perform well and most of the time the series manage to keep a genuine feel in dialog as well as individual details. Also they dare to show the victims and the genuine tragedy that Ausonius created through his actions. Something that is easier to forget that one might think when the focus is on the madman and not on his victims. The fact that they manage to portray this as well adds another layer of emotion to the story.
"Lasermannen" is interesting on several levels. It's interesting as a view on the failure of the Swedish integration policy. It's interesting as a study of a disturbed individual and finally also interesting as a study of the Swedish police that are given a rather harsh treatment here. A well deserved harsh treatment i might add, considering the facts of the case. As a document of Sweden in the early 90's this works very well. The background of the case is integrated nicely into the story, as are theories of his motives as well as answers he himself has given in interviews done after his capture.
Very recommended viewing.