Stockholm: The story of Stockholm Syndrome on the big screen

Stockholm. Stockholm.

Have you ever wondered where the concept of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ came from? Let’s just start by saying it’s quite an interesting backstory. After making the intriguing drama Born to Be Blue, actor Ethan Hawke and writer/director Robert Budreau have decided to collaborate on another movie titled Stockholm. It is based on an actual event that happened in the year 1973, when a man named Lars Nystrom (played marvellously by Hawke) decided to rob a bank and take some of the employees as hostages. This was all to blackmail the Prime Minister into giving him everything that he wants. However, he forms some sort of relationship with one of the hostages named Bianca (Noomi Rapace) along the way, and she discovers the vulnerable and caring side of the robber as the movie goes on. That aspect eventually inspired the term ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ to be developed and recognized everywhere.

Hawke continues to prove that he is a talented actor, and his performance as Lars is absolutely amazing. Every time he’s on screen, you’re always engaged, because his character is just so entertaining to watch. He’s able to make an arrogant robber into a likeable person as the film goes on, which is not easy to do. It takes a lot of acting skills to pull that off, and he does it like a champ. The rest of the cast is also great with supporting actors like Noomi Rapace, Mark Strong and Christopher Heyerdahl bringing some fun performances as well.


As a crime drama, it does its job well. However, it’s not really a ground-breaking film as it’s a pretty straightforward premise. For the majority of the runtime, the movie takes place at the bank, but it’s remarkably engaging throughout thanks to the acting performances and screenplay. Speaking of the script, Budreau comes up with some clever and witty dialogue for the characters to have. He even knows how to balance the humour and drama with one another in a cohesive and entertaining way. The main flaw with Stockholm is that the negotiation scenes involving Heyerdahl’s character and his team aren’t that interesting. They’re not convoluted or boring, it’s just that they lack Hawke’s strong presence on screen and don’t stand out as memorable moments. Even if those scenes are the weakest element of the film, it’s still well-paced from start to finish.


Stockholm makes a crazy event that happened many years ago into something fun for the audience to enjoy. While many people might not like the fact that the tone is too lighthearted for a situation like this, that’s totally up to you.  You can tell that Budreau has taken a lot of interesting creative decisions with this particular event, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a really entertaining film with a great script and fantastic acting performances. If for nothing else, you should definitely check it out just to appreciate Hawke’s amazing talent as an actor. Stockholm shows that moviegoers can still be entertained with real-life events, as long as it’s the right filmmakers adapting them.

Stockholm is now playing in theatres.

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About Steven Lee

Ever since he was a kid, Steven has always been passionate about movies. As a fan of Marvel, Star Wars and other geeky franchises, he will always bring you fun and nerdy articles that might pique your interest! More Posts