Genre mash-ups can come across as completely derivative or truly original—it seems like you end up with either a mix of familiar themes and images that seem totally ripped off, or a rapturous journey through the unfocussed mind of an eccentric filmmaker who refuses to be creatively confined by a single genre. Rather than steeping itself in rich mythology like, say, NIGHT WATCH or BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF, the bizarre and confusing Swedish import, STORM, takes an “everything but the kitchen sink” approach, adding way too many varied and unnecessary ingredients to what could have been a perfectly decent cinematic soup.
Donny is your garden variety slacker: he’s self-absorbed, lazy, sporting a few days growth of scraggly beard, a guy who spends his free time listening to the next door neighbors hump and groan through the thin walls of his apartment. His listless life is thrown into immediate turmoil after an encounter with a mysterious redhead, who gives him a small, gray, featureless box for safekeeping. “Seek the source and you will be able to open this box,” says the punky redhead. Yeah, whatever.
Donny begins his requisite descent into a trippy Gotland netherworld while the film begins to cram varying ideas and tones through it’s cinematic sieve, which eventually provokes the question, What is this movie? A slacker character study? A celebration of gaming/comic book culture? A metaphysical exploration of the guilty, drug-addled subconscious? Frankly, it’s a compete mess. But it’s a mess with sometimes stellar cinematography.
Rapid-fire pacing would have gone a long way toward patching up the holes in the loose, baggy plot, but STORM quickly establishes itself as a deliberately-paced piece of stylistic fluff that refuses to entertain or impress, despite a third-reel, totally unnecessary scene featuring some Catherine Zeta-Jones-style laser beam dodging. Okay, I’ll admit it, the laser beam dodging scene was funny. STORM, one; audience, zero.