One early scene of The Real Estate hints at promise, as our lead Nojet prepares to go door to door and speak to her new tenants. Léonore Ekstrand is given room to breathe, and she attempts to establish some humanity in this tale of capitalism and corruption. Unfortunately her good work is promptly squandered, and as The Real Estate focuses on business the film drowns in its own specificity, struggling to set out the complexities of its own legal case, making a dull setup obtusely hard to follow.
At the halfway point, when the lifeless script and dull storytelling has brought the film to a standstill, The Real Estate changes track – so that it can fail to go anywhere in another direction. The back half certainly seeks to up the thrill factor as Nojet plots to reclaim her territory, but any excitement is suffocated by lengthy sequences of her wandering around with a head wound and eating canned beans.
Eventually it looks like the film might build to a halfway satisfying crescendo as plans are formed and become action – only for the film to cut off before any conclusions are reached. On one hand, this is a merciful blessing as 90 minutes is quite long enough – but after so much time has been spent setting up the ins and outs of Swedish real estate law, this swift end only serves to highlight what a waste of time the whole enterprise has been.
The Real Estate was always going to be a tough sell – the rental market doesn’t find itself the centre of many riveting stories, and it’s tricky to elicit sympathy for anyone struggling to maintain a millionaire lifestyle. Sadly there’s no one to root for here, and while there are some unlikable villains to root against, why take a side – or even care at all?
CAST: Léonore Ekstrand
DIRECTORS: Måns Månsson, Axel Petersén
WRITER: Axel Petersén
SYNOPSIS: After a life of luxury financed by her father, 68 year-old Nojet inherits one of his apartment buildings in Stockholm’s city centre. This lady of leisure returns from the sunny south to her homeland, but instead of a well-organised state of affairs, she finds total chaos.[TRAILER FORTHCOMING]