Ad of the Day: Mads Mikkelsen Is a Riveting, Bizarre Hitman in Ford’s 8-Minute Gangster Flick

One way to fall in love with an SUV

The new Ford Edge is so enchanting, it will turn the vicious assassin that an arms dealer hired to kill you into a smitten guardian angel—though the killer with the heart of gold might still steal your ride as payment for his protection.

So says a new eight-minute short film for the automaker from agency GTB, starring actor Mads Mikkelsen as the hitman, and directed by Jake Scott.

Tracking the story of a couple turned state's witness against a weapons smuggler, it follows them into hiding as Mikkelsen's character stalks them, and their bright orange SUV, which apparently they've decided to bring with them to their new Mediterranean village home. (Presumably it was just too good to give up, even if they didn't mind changing their faces with a little casual plastic surgery.)

Mikkelsen, playing the titular "Le Fantôme" or "The Ghost," is ultimately so charmed by the car that he refuses the bounty, and even protects the couple from the second murderer sent to replace them—swapping their Edge for an old two-seat motorcycle and a couple of plane tickets to Peru.

In other words, the film straddles the line between the somber and the absurd—though how intentionally isn't, at first, entirely clear. The stakes are high—life and death. The hero is blocky. His motivation is goofy—a point that seems most deliberate when he pauses his hunt to nuzzle the car. The Ford seems woefully out of place, a point the story halfway strives to acknowledge but doesn't quite defuse. Its modern profile sticks out like a sore thumb against the lush, classic, dilapidated backdrop that the production so beautifully shapes.

Ultimately, it doesn't feel believable. This isn't a luxury automobile, and it's not obvious whether Ford is asking people to laugh at the car without quite giving reason to do so, or to applaud the car as a down-to-earth antidote to the hackneyed, dazzling underworld tropes the film goes to great lengths to polish.

Ultimately, it's most likely the latter. A fair reading would find the whole film a delightfully arch send-up of gangster narratives, and a celebration of modesty and morality. Regardless, the visuals are wonderful, and Mikkelsen's performance is eminently watchable—enough in its own right to keep the audience hooked, and guessing.

In fact, the only real crime may be the color of the car.

CREDITS

Agency: GTB
Chief Creative Officer: Julian Watt
Executive Creative Director: Bryn Attewell
Creative Director: Peter Hvid
Producer: Romila Sanassy
Group Business Director: Sarah Rosser
Account Director: Sian Patrick
Senior Account Manager: Luke Johnson
Account Executive: Mathilde Pors
Planning Partner: Stephen Wallace
President: Paul Confrey
Client Services Director: Fabio Ruffet
Director, Integrated Planning: Melanie Elliot

Prod Company: RSA Films
Director: Jake Scott
Exec Producer: Cindy Burnay
Editor: Joe Guest at Final Cut
Director of Photography: Mark Patten
Production Designer: Joseph Bennett
Photographer: Nigel Harniman
Cast

Le Fantôme: Mads Mikkelsen
The Widow: Barbara Steele
Hero Couple: Karin Perathoner and James Brown
The Kingpin: Jon Campling
Interpol Agent: Zarko Radic

Ford
Vice President, Marketing, Ford of Europe: Matthew Van Dyke
Marketing Communications Director, Ford of Europe: Anthony Ireson
Brand Content Manager, Ford of Europe: Lyn West
SUV Brand Content Manager, Ford of Europe: Chris Rushton