The Fat and the Angry frame with Gustav Skarsgård as Karl, and Matias Varela as Nicola

The Fat and The Angry is a Swedish mini-series currently playing on MHz Choice. An explosion in coastal city Göteburg triggers the arrival of the Swedish Security Service, who are working with the FBI to break up an international ring of credit card thieves. They feel that the explosion is tied to the thieves. The authorities round up unassuming chatterbox Sebastian (Jonathan Andersson), or “Sebbe” as he prefers to be called, because of some vague ties to the fraudsters. Under threat of extradition to the U.S., Sebbe lays out a labyrinthine tale filled with psychotic buffoons, from a banker to a local thug to a computer genius to a vendor in the Muslim market. It’s a violent, hilarious tale of greed and desperation. The basic plot and certainly the ending are derivative, but the joy is in the journey here. If you liked We Got This or Snatch, you will like The Fat and the Angry.

Credit card Fraud

Sebbe is a local stoner who is in love with his neighbor, Leilla (Aliette Opheim). Leilla is the older sister of Sebbe’s friend Farid (Elliott Hasselberg), a computer genius who has hatched a scheme to skim credit cards. Here’s how it works: Leilla dresses up and goes out to clubs where she parties with rich men. When they go to the bathroom, she runs their credit cards through a skimmer, then disappears. The credit card number goes to Farid, who quickly duplicates the card several times, then dispatches Sebbe and others to sell the stolen cards on the street. The card will be good for a few hours, during which time buyers can make ATM withdrawals or purchases. Farid and Sebbe see it as a victimless crime, because banks cover the charges once the card is declared stolen. The problem is that nobody can keep a secret, so once word gets out that there is a lucrative scam going on, the local thugs want in. And it gets positively Gordian from there.

The Characters

It’s really the characters that make The Fat and The Angry sing. Dick (Måns Herngren) , aka “The Stockholmer”, is a hapless banker who owes money to some dangerous Russian gangsters.  Karl (Gustav Skarsgård) is a diet-pill addicted thug and self-proclaimed “King of Göteburg” who wants in on the scam.  Azad (Said William Legue) is a vendor in the Muslim market works for Farid to earn money for the dowry to marry his Sudanese girlfriend. And Gustav (Lars Väringer), who is Dick’s father-in-law, is a greedy local politician who is working to tear down the Muslim market and beautify Göteburg. These characters are as idiotic as they are arrogant, and the way they come together is blackly comic, which had me laughing out loud, despite the violence they inflict on one another. The police characters didn’t really interest me, even though one of them is played by Søren Malling.

Our Take on The Fat and the Angry

I really enjoyed The Fat and the Angry, despite its predictable conclusion and a ludicrous final scene. Sebbe is a fun narrator, who offers asides such as “And everyone knows you don’t get involved with Russians, because they are mean and crazy.”  One thing that didn’t work for me was the theme of the Swedish Welfare State. The series opens with old newsreel footage about achieving the welfare state, where every citizen can thrive, and Sebbe punctuates his story with comments about how brown people always get screwed, but it felt tacked on. Perhaps if I was Swedish it would resonate more. But the absurd humor is right up my alley, and the comic performances are outstanding, especially Gustav Skarsgård.

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