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From visionary music video and TV director Johan Renck comes the critically-acclaimed Gothenburg crime saga The Fat and the Angry – premiering May 23rd exclusively on MHz Choice!

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Loosely inspired by true events, The Fat and the Angry tells the story of one of the most bizarre police investigations in the annals of Swedish law enforcement. After a devastating blast rocks the country’s second-largest city, the police finger affable stoner Sebastian “Sebbe” Andersson as a person of interest and bring him in for questioning. Petra Stare, an up-and-coming officer in the crime squad, is assigned to interrogate him. Sebbe seems to take to her, and proceeds to spin a tale of high-end thieves, brutal criminals, corrupt politicians and a worldwide credit card scam in a scathing and often hilarious indictment of the Swedish social welfare state.

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Director Johan Renck

Director Johan Renck first made his name as a music video director, working with artists like Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Robbie Williams, The Streets and New Order. He also helmed David Bowie’s acclaimed Blackstar and Lazarus videos, the late icon’s final releases. Renck branched out to features and TV series with multiple episodes of Breaking Bad and installments of The Walking Dead, Bates Motel and Halt and Catch Fire to his credit. In The Fat and the Angry, a two-part miniseries produced for Swedish TV in 2014, his distinctive style is marked by lush, almost monochromatic cinematography featuring lengthy wordless takes and punctuated by quick bursts of blackly-comic violence. Renck never allows these flourishes to overwhelm the narrative – indeed, at crucial points the dream-like imagery reveals plot twists and character motivations in a far more effective manner than a mundane dialog info-dump would. The focus is always on the story that Sebbe is telling, and its effects on Petra, his interrogator.

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Karl and the gang from The Fat And The Angry

As the story begins, the character introductions come fast and furious – and viewers might initially feel a little overwhelmed. Soon, however, that feeling subsides as we quickly adjust to this very different world, and are drawn in to Sebbe’s story and the unique characters who inhabit it. None of them are very sympathetic, except maybe Sebbe himself – and why would they be? They’re all criminals! There’s Dick Malm, the Stockholmer who works in bank security and owes the Russian mob a fortune from a real estate deal gone bad. His father-in-law, Gustav Berner, a municipal commissioner and as crooked as they come. Young Farid Badou, a Moroccan computer whiz who hatches the credit card scheme in the first place. His sister, Leila, a con artist and the object of Sebbe’s unrequited affection. And most unforgettable of all is Karl, the self-proclaimed “King of Gothenburg”, a psychotic, diet pill-popping Godfather wannabe who sets the various factions in a violent collision course that plays out over the course of the second episode. He’s scary one second and laugh-out-loud hilarious the next – much like the miniseries itself.

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Sebbe (Jonathan Andersson) and Petra (Liv Mjönes)

Petra is our rock throughout. We relate to her. She’s the one real person in this whole insane world. The more she’s swept up in Sebbe’s story, the more we as viewers are, too. And by the time she’s forced to take matters into her own hands to get to the bottom of the case, we’re 100% on her side and rooting for her all the way.

With its fractured narrative (and questionable narrator – we’re never quite sure whose side Sebbe is on), The Fat and the Angry draws some inspiration from ’90s classics like Fight Club, The Usual Suspects and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, combined with a very pointed commentary on the perceived failures of the Swedish welfare state. The original Swedish title is Ettor & Nollor (Ones & Zeros) – a reference not only to the computer coding of the credit card scam, but also to the haves and have nots in Swedish society. “This town is full of ones and zeros,” says Sebbe, “Zeros who want to be ones, and ones who don’t know they’re zeros.” The opening narration is even blunter: “Swedish society has not yet fulfilled the vision of the welfare state.” The announcer continues and states that “if Swedish society is to fulfill the vision of the welfare state, we need to remove class differences, develop social care, achieve financial equalization and fully implement democracy.” Unspoken is the revolutionary warning that follows: “Or else,” it seems to suggest, “the events of The Fat and the Angry may become reality.”

The Fat and the Angry premieres May 23rd on MHz Choice.

CAUTION: Graphic content

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