I’m not typically a big fan of media centered around heists; sometimes they do not contain as much exhilaration to capture my attention. However, I will admit that the extreme action and goosebump-inducing thrills that the characters experience are quite a rollercoaster to see within themselves. I’m not entirely sure what it is about heist media; maybe it’s because I’m more of a fan of less chaotic (and gun-filled) entertainment. But, what I am a big fan of is where interesting terms stem from (both psychologically and philosophically); and when I got the chance to sit down and watch ‘Clark’, seeing how a typical heist series mixed in with telling the story of an infamous figure in history that would coin one of the most interesting psychological terms, I will say that I was enthused with how I would feel by the end of it.
As yet another biopic limited-run series for this year of 2022, ‘Clark’ certainly shows up as an intriguing series to sit down and watch; the series plaguing itself with the notion that this biopic builds itself up to be based on both a sense of fiction and reality. Based on my knowledge of the notorious bank robber, Clark Olofsson, it seemed as though he was a man full of deception and a desire to build up his reputation in a specific way; one where others could believe him even if that belief had a wall of falsity behind it. Netflix’s recent original series, ‘Clark’, details the infamous and manipulative nature of a historical figure that has been remembered for years to come.
‘Clark’ – A Man With An Allure Of Deception
Based on Clark Olofsson’s autobiography, the Swedish Netflix original series dives into the “truths and lies” of both Olofsson’s life and how his on-the-surface charming personality would go on to coin the term “Stockholm Syndrome” after a notorious bank robbery in 1973. Throughout the series, audiences can expect a progression of Olofsson (played by Bill Skarsgård) beginning life as a delinquent youth to growing up to become a nefarious criminal. Ultimately, the series dives into the emotional downfall that would, ironically, become Olofsson’s uprising into having a rather unlawful reputation.
The storyline of ‘Clark’ has an interesting progression. The swift pace of chronological events all unfolding into the first episode to get the audience to the core foundation of the series is a bold move to make; but also one that will seemingly keep watchers intrigued and engrossing in wanting more by narrowing out those with curious minds to those who want to see this series for all that it’s been developed to me–reality or fiction pushed to the side. Regardless, I adore the writing in this series; it truly makes you want to not be sympathetic towards Olofsson, yet it pulls you into his enchanting aura to somewhat care about him at the same time.
The writing in ‘Clark’ also gives a lot of room for the other characters to show off their personalities as well; yet everyone feels like an accessory to Olofsson’s story as a whole–and I mean this in an entirely good way. Throughout the six-episode run of the series, so much happens that the final episode feels as though it’s like a final big bang to everything that we got the opportunity to experience; and it’s from Olofsson being the whole focal point of the series that everyone else gets roped into his alluring atmosphere and eventually whisked away from him in the end.
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A Good Ol’ Fashioned Look For A Heist
I first want to point out that the costume design in ‘Clark’ is phenomenal–it makes me a tad jealous of the clothes Olofsson wears throughout the series (but only just a tad). The clothes cement the 70s environment fully, alongside the set design that swirls itself in with a sense of fictional history. Not to mention the extravagant cinematography that keeps the surface look of the series extremely appealing. Everything feels familiar and accurate in some senses, but, as the storyline and character development permit, we can never know if everything is actually as it seems. It is with this said that the coined term I had mentioned beforehand, “Stockholm Syndrome”, comes into play.
You may be curious as to how Clark Olofsson would go on to be the origin of the phrase we most famously know from the beloved Disney film ‘The Beauty and the Beast’. Many are unsure as to whether or not Olofsson had the intention of manipulating them but during a hostage situation at a bank in Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm, Olofsson had convinced the hostages that they were safe. They seemingly were charmed by their captor and were so sure that the police were the villains and not Olofsson himself. Because of this, the hostages were hostile towards the police and kind towards Olofsson. And, it is with that, that the term “Stockholm Syndrome” had come to be.
As I mentioned before, the end of ‘Clark’ ends with a big bang. I won’t go far too much into it, since I would love it for all of you to go check it out yourself, but there is certainly a “wow” factor to the ending of it all. It leaves everything up for room to interpret how you think of Olofsson himself based on his actions and looks alone; whether or not all of these events truly happened in retrospect.
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A Life Of Fictional Realism
It’s impressive to see how Olofsson pulled off everything he did during his life back then. Even though it is rather important to remember that ‘Clark’ is not entirely truthful (some of it rightfully having to be dramatized for the big screen to entertain viewers), it is exciting to get a look into a historical figure who was a part of Swedish history–and an important figure behind what we know to be a psychological response and coping mechanism today.
With all of the limited-run biopics series that have premiered this year thus far, ‘Clark’ reaches up there for me in the realm of pure enjoyment. As I said before, heist media isn’t entirely what I strive to spend my time watching; but ‘Clark’ plagues my mind to be curious as to what other heist-related media I could watch. Nevertheless, if you’ve been looking to get a fascinating crime stories fix (and/or to see Bill Skarsgård in some neat clothes and out of that Pennywise suit) then ‘Clark’ is the next series that you’ve secretly been desiring.
By Leah Donato
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