Clark Netflix review – the story of Clark Olofsson who gave us the term Stockholm syndrome

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In a world of true crime dramatisations, there are certainly a lot of shows that claim to either be “inspired by” or “based on” true stories that are competing for our eyeballs in 2022, so it might be that a Swedish-language show about a bank robber in the 1970s isn’t something that you immediately jump on as your next Netflix binge.

Well, I’m here to tell you that this is exactly what you should be watching if you’re looking for a quirky, funny, compelling and intriguing story.

Clark is based on the life and times of Clark Olofsson, a Swedish criminal of whom you may or may not have heard. However, I’m fairly sure you will be familiar with a phrase that rose from his actions; Stockholm syndrome. Yes, this term, which illustrates a situation where hostages form a positive bond with their captors was first used in the media after a 1973 bank robbery involving Olofsson. When the hostages were finally freed, they tried to defend Olofsson and their captors and refused to testify against them in court. This curious syndrome has moved into common usage in the modern age – but it all started with the star of this drama, Clark.

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The story of Clark begins at the beginning – and I mean the very beginning as we see Olofsson in his mother’s womb, refusing to come out because he doesn’t like being told what to do. This sets the scene for a weird and wonderful whistle stop journey through his childhood where we see him surrounded by a dysfunctional family in a poor neighbourhood. At a young age he turns to petty crime and quickly this escalates to more serious crimes and inevitably being caught and serving time in detention centres and prisons.

But Clark has a mantra; “If you can’t be the best of the best, make sure you are the best of the worst.” Filled with a self confidence and natural charm that seems to open doors for this eccentric criminal, he continues a life of crime despite being caught and punished. This is the story of a man so determined to succeed, and so sure that he can that he will take risks and do things that seem extraordinary to the wide-eyed viewer watching on from the other side of their screens.

Played with brilliance by Bill Skarsgård, this is a series that will have you gripped at it takes dark and at time comedic twists at a breakneck pace. You need to have your wits about you as you watch, as a lot goes on very quickly – but every excellently scene deserves its place in this excellently crafted piece of television.

Based on Olofsson’s own autobiography, this is a show that has everything; love, lies and oodles of charm.

Directed by Jonas Åkerlund, this series treads a fine line between drawing you into a story with an anti-hero at its centre, and encouraging you to root for someone who – hoever charming and funny at times – is a criminal doing bad things. This is a difficult line to tread as a filmmaker, but across this six-part series its something that is achieved and with style.

If you’re looking for a run of the mill drama with nothing unexpected, this probably isn’t the show for you. Clark is a breathtaking journey of audacity which will leave you breathless, but thoroughly entertained.

Clark is available to watch in its entirety on Netflix right now

Tim Glanfield

Tim Glanfield is a journalist, editor and broadcaster with more than 15 years experience writing about television, film and the entertainment business. He has been editor of RadioTimes.com, a writer for The Times (of London) and the Guardian as well as a freelance contributor to newspapers, magazines and websites across the world. He is author of the book Digital Economy or Bust: The Story of a New Media Startup and makes regular appearances on TV and radio in the UK.

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