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Home Movies Reviews ‘Stolen’ (2024) Netflix Movie Review - Good Intentions Get Undermined by a Generic Treatment

‘Stolen’ (2024) Netflix Movie Review - Good Intentions Get Undermined by a Generic Treatment

Inspired by true events, the movie follows a young lady from Sweden’s Indigenous Sámi community chases down a killer to settle a personal score in this dramatic thriller

Vikas Yadav - Fri, 12 Apr 2024 16:55:34 +0100 1670 Views
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There is a scene in Elle Márjá Eira's Stolen where an American tourist asks for a picture of a Sámi woman. For her, the Sámi people are exotic individuals, which is why she is willing to pay for an "authentic" picture. This touristy gaze sometimes seeps into the lens of this film when, through wide shots, it shows us the act of reindeer herding. The reindeer form a circle and move in a herd across the snowy mountains, and the camera captures it all with a picture-postcard style. Controlling such a large group of animals must surely come with its own set of challenges, but Stolen makes it all look pleasing and effortless. It invites you to become a reindeer herder.

Only when Stolen leaves the wide shots and comes near its characters does it lose the glamour and become informative and watchable. We learn how global warming affects the reindeer herders, how the locals despise them and refer to them using an offensive L-word, and how the animals fatally suffer in this bitterness between the humans. The screenplay by Peter Birro lays down the complaints from both sides like a bullet point. During a meeting, one side talks about reindeer killings, while the other side grumbles about being unable to go fishing or drive their snowmobiles. The latter group of people speak in favor of mine and road construction. They want jobs. A man mentions he has been unemployed for almost a year and needs money to care for his wife and children.

It's a complex issue, though it's simplified in Stolen. Everything mostly boils down to two characters - Robert (Martin Wallström) and Elsa (Elin Oskal). He is as punchable as a one-dimensional villain, while she is as good as a one-dimensional hero. Robert represents the locals' hate towards reindeer herders, while Elsa represents the pain, the anger of her people. The movie puts us on Elsa's side, so everybody who is not a reindeer herder looks despicable.

Don't expect a balanced perspective from this mediocre Netflix thriller. At its best, it attempts to strike up a conversation about the situation of the Sámi people. There are online news articles about the killing of reindeer in road accidents and the death threats that were given to the herders. Stolen wants to direct your attention towards these events, these people. But all its good intentions get undermined by a generic treatment. It's decent for most of the time but becomes shoddy when it attempts to be a thriller. The home invasion and the chase sequence are all executed without any sense of apprehension. Elsa speaks fiercely (she compensates for not speaking up as a young girl who witnessed a reindeer's murder), attracting hostility from her enemies (people like Robert). Yet, you never feel as if she is in any great danger. Even as a drama, Stolen merely touches on mental health issues and offers some serious-looking faces (at least, the former aspect is semi-effective). That's the problem with movies whose sole strength is their good intentions: They are so busy educating the audience that they forget to grab or entertain them.

Final Score- [5.5/10]
Reviewed by - Vikas Yadav
Follow @vikasonorous on Twitter
Publisher at Midgard Times



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