This film is the second silver screen adaption of the Finnish war book by Väinö Linna with the same name as the film. The story is based on Linna's experiences as an infantry man in the ... See full summary »
Set during the World War 2. In the summer of 1941 the Finnish army crosses the border of Russia. A platoon led by Lt. Eero Perkola goes through the wilderness around the Lieksa lake to ... See full summary »
It is the summer of 1941. An eastern-Finnish machine gun company receives an order to turn in their surplus equipment. The company is transferred to the front lines. The next morning the ... See full summary »
Summer 1944 in Finnish Karelia; after a long lull, the Soviet army launches an overwhelming offensive that throws everything into disarray. Martta has barely time to marry Aarne before she ... See full summary »
This film is the second silver screen adaption of the Finnish war book by Väinö Linna with the same name as the film. The story is based on Linna's experiences as an infantry man in the Finnish army during the so called "Continuation War" (1941-1944). The film tells the story of the fate of a machine gun platoon made up of young conscripts from various parts of Finland fighting against the Russian army from the beginning (summer 1941) to the end (summer/autumn 1944) of the war. Many of the characters are based on author Linna's brothers in arms. Written by
Rauni Mollberg's (from now on referred to as 'Molle') Tuntematon Sotilas has been left far behind in fame to its predecessor, that of Edwin Laine's Tuntematon Sotilas from 1955. This is not surprising as the newer movie lacks the sentiment that is almost omnipresent in the older version. Despite this, is Molle's version more faithful to the original novel by Väinö Linna who was himself involved in making of the new version. Both movies however deserve their place, in Edwin Laine's time there was a need for high national epic but as the times changed a new version was also welcome and maybe even in demand.
Molle's version deserves perhaps more praise and attention than it has been used to have, but also criticism. The newer version is no way meant to be 'a better' version but rather an alternative account of the psychological reality of a man. Therefore I call it an antithesis, it is impossible to see the newer version without comparing it to the all too familiar older version. You actually need to watch the film several times before it really opens to you in the way Molle had intended it. Tuntematon Sotilas is a war film, but the highlight is upon the people who fought in there, both Finns and Russians, who are brought to suffer the very same meat-grinder. Parts of it are funny, parts of it are disgusting.
What is left to a lesser notion is historicity, the weapons and uniforms are from the second world war but you should not expect them to appear in correct order. For the weapon freaks be it informed that the same KV-1's appear as both Finnish and Soviet tanks. For those who already know everything that has been written about the Continuation War this movie does not offer any historical references, this time it is all literature from the ground view. Nevertheless this is one of the best war films there is, perhaps there is a conscious focus and perhaps there is some message, but the weight of the overall work will just make you silent.
If you are going to see this film, make sure you are watching a quality copy. Many dark scenes have become incomprehensible in poor quality VHS transfers. The darkness is essential visual effect in Molle's version.
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