REVIEW: ‘Clark’ is Completely Unhinged

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Clark - But Why Tho

True crime dramatization series are becoming the standard for streaming platforms. While true crime documentaries unpack the motives, dramatizations open up the ability to layer on the mayhem. That’s what Netflix Original Clark manages to do. A Swedish series, Clark is directed by Jonas Åkerlund and stars a chaotic Bill Skarsgård as Clark Olofsson —the notorious Swedish bank robber, and the man who gave rise to the expression “The Stockholm syndrome,” However, “based on a true story” does heavy lifting as this complete fever dream of a story unfolds over six episodes.

In fact, this is more a fictionalized retelling than anything resembling true crime and that’s why it works. We see Clark on his life journey from child to adult as he fools all of Sweden to fall in love with him, despite several counts of drug trafficking, attempted murder, assault, theft, and dozens of bank robberies. Using the often truthful and equally fictitious autobiography by Olofsson, Åkerlund brings to life one of the most controversial personalities in contemporary Swedish history with chaos and humor.

Instead of just retelling crimes and showcasing misdemeanors in a way that is drama-first with all of the true-crime trappings, Clark is chaotically and completely unhinged. As the series lead, Bill Skarsgård is perfectly eccentric in an otherworldly way that keeps you focused on the screen even when things start to not make any sense. Skarsgård is a weird and cruel and charismatic sort of iconic. He is as humorous as he is scary as the story layers crimes and absurdity with each development. Every moment of the series is a party pulled as far as it can. Sex and humor and action all come together for something truly special.

Clark is a bombastic series that throws out nearly every biographical convention, stretching the ones it keeps to unrecognizable proportions. That said, the erratic pacing of the series is both its strength and its downfall. At times, it keeps you engrossed and offers a fantastic level of entertainment, but not all of the time. For the middle section of the series, the pacing feels like you’ve shot our of a canon in a way that leaves you hunting for some calm to take in the story. That said, even when it loses you, its sure to pull you back in.

That said, Clark is a success because of its unruly nature sure, but it’s damn near perfect because of Bill Skarsgård magnetic ability to bring every absurd thought and emotion to life. Skarsgård is a phenomenal lead and every facial expression, moment of physical comedy, and dramatic seconds of sex is effortlessly humorous that it makes me want him the center of every twisted comedy that comes out next.

Clark is a lot. It’s a blast and a half, insanely hilarious, and at times a chaotic fever dream of a biopic that always zigs when you expect it to zag. Bill Skarsgård and Jonas Åkerlund are a duo I need to work together more, and with just six episodes, this series is well worth your time.

Clark is streaming now exclusively on Netflix.


Clark
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    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

Clark is a lot. It’s a blast and a half, insanely hilarious, and at times a chaotic fever dream of a biopic that always zigs when you expect it to zag. Bill Skarsgård and Jonas Åkerlund are a duo I need to work together more, and with just six episodes, this series is well worth your time.