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Clark, the Netflix series that traces the phenomenon of Stockholm syndrome

An atypical series on an extraordinary character, such is the promise of clark, retracing the exalted existence of Clark Olofsson, a famous Swedish robber, thanks to whom we now speak of Stockholm syndrome. A burlesque clip of more than six hours, which would have benefited from being decidedly more serious…

“Based on facts and lies”, we are warned at the start of each episode. Why not. As the minutes pass, we quickly understand the irony of this precision… Because ultimately to say that a series on the famous Swedish robber Clark Olofsson takes liberties is a kind of mise en abyme even of the elusive existence of the one who is at the origin of what is called Stockholm syndrome and never delivered the whole truth about him.

Available since the beginning of May on Netflix, clark is a Swedish series in six one-hour episodes, created by Jonas Akerlund, music video director for David Guetta, Madonna and the Rolling Stones. The world of the 7th art loves so much to seize the incredible lives of the great rebel icons. From now on, series on streaming platforms too. Heroes who are a call to break free from the chains of society, to claim a nihilistic spirit and above all to fully experience the idea of ​​freedom. And of that, the spectator is fond!

The pitch? The fictionalized life of Clark Olofsson

To each country, its biopic on its public enemy number 1. After Bonnie & Clyde in the United States and Mesrine in France, Sweden can finally shine with its irreverent bandit: Clark Olofsson. Between the 70s and 80s, he was guilty of numerous thefts, bank robberies, assaults, prison breaks or drug trafficking. He lived a thousand and one lives, but above all made history in 1973 with his robbery of the Norrmalmstorg neighborhood bank in the Swedish capital. It is there that the Stockholm syndrome would have seen the light of day…

The series therefore returns to the life course, completely crazy, of Clark Olofsson. The screenplay was inspired by the biography written by the robber himself and published in Sweden in 2015. And without taboo, the director did not hesitate to intertwine fiction and reality. Objectivity is far from there, worse, we have the impression that this way of telling this story facilitates, even at times, forces the spectator’s attachment to the bandit.

An original and supercharged achievement

Positive point: the high quality of the realization carried out by Jonas Akerlund, with in particular an incessant game with the color of the images which adapts according to the place where the plot takes place. The colors are desaturated when Clark is in prison, in black and white when his painful childhood is approached or even sharp each time the robber regains his freedom. However, if you are photosensitive, these excesses of light and color can force you to take out your sunglasses…

Jonas Akerlund’s experience as a clip director is omnipresent in the series: frames, changing formats, elaborate staging, all carried by a boosted montage with millimeter and comic sound transitions. Animation sequences sometimes even point the tip of their nose. One of them is a direct tribute to the style of the clip Yellow Submarine of the Beatles. The most impressive? That of the birth of Clark Olofsson which starts the series: grotesque and offbeat, the tone is set. Series clark is squarely a matter of burlesque comedy and abandons academic drama. And that is so cool!

The character of Clark Olofsson, played by actor Bill Skarsgård, blends perfectly into this explosive and frenetic staging. His boundless energy gives his character a clownish look, sometimes it is true, exhausting. It must be said that this performance of the actor, continually in “excess” gives his character an insensitive personality, even devoid of all humanity. Was the one to whom we owe the Stockholm syndrome really like this? We will ultimately never know.

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© Madmoizelle

Undeveloped Stockholm Syndrome

This series is interesting because it addresses the birth of Stockholm syndrome during the Norrmalmstorg bank heist in the Swedish capital in 1973. The hostage-taking would have lasted six days, and the seductive robber would have succeeded over the days to make his four captives his best allies. A robbery that goes wrong but which has revealed a psychological pathology, defined by the Larousse dictionary as being:

“The sympathy that is established between a hostage and his captors. It could be a defense reaction of the psyche against prolonged sequestration. »

Unfortunately, this famous robbery at the origin of the psychological phenomenon intervenes in the middle of the series such an ordinary occurrence in existence at 1000 Olofsson’s hour. For him, it was perhaps the case, but for us spectators, it is not… This principle of the Stockholm syndrome is set up too quickly, without finesse or accuracy… and it is little exploited in the sequel from the Serie. Shame.

clark becomes a sort of hallucinated journey without any real guiding line. Wanting to tell too much, coherence is quickly harmed. So even if we laugh, even if we remain captivated by lunar situations, we do not detect the leadership transcended by Clark Olofsson. The dialogues remain basic and abandon emotion. The women are victims and the police are left behind. And that’s all.

The error is certainly to have been trapped by the series’ ubiquitous, almost grueling second degree. A little seriousness wouldn’t have hurt… It would have shed light on Clark Olofsson’s first victim: himself, drowned in his lies, veiling his face to the world but also to the traumas of his own story. Nice try, but the substance of the message remains terribly unfinished…


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Featured Image: © Eric Broms – Netflix

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