Four Shades of Brown

Scripted by Killingganget, a popular Swedish comedy troupe, this sprawling three-hour film caroms heedlessly in several directions, among them ribald comedy, social satire, and genuine tragedy. Director Tomas Alfredson doesn't always maintain sharp control over his material, but there's so much going on I wasn't bored for a moment. Unspooling four simultaneous narrative lines that never intersect, Killingganget and Alfredson's jaundiced yet hopeful riff on humanity is reminiscent of Paul Thomas Anderson's work, especially Magnolia. The story lines include a middle-aged couple coping with their distressingly alienated son, a pathologically anal hotel owner and his magician parents, a therapy group whose oldest participant reveals a dark secret, and a corpse that sums up its lavish life postmortem. In Swedish with subtitles. 190 min.

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