After fifteen years' service, Henri Boulanger is made redundant from his job. Shocked, he attempts suicide, but can't go through with it, so he hires a contract killer in a seedy bar to ... See full summary »
A 57 minute documentary of a Helsinki concert featuring the Leningrad Cowboys and the Alexandrov Red Army Choir and Ballet, who collaborate on a number of US Rock songs sung in English (... See full summary »
Alexandrov Red Army Ensemble,
Antti "Zombie" Autiomaa does two things well: play the bass guitar and drink. After several months' sleeping on the streets of Istanbul, he returns to Helsinki where he's called into the ... See full summary »
Talkative, hyperactive young drifter Ville Alfa goes around Helsinki, basically trying to borrow money from friends and strangers by means of an incessant delivery of quirky and snappy quasi-intellectual lines and fabricated excuses.
Definitely not to be confused with any of Sylvester Stallone's efforts, this is a wicked satire on 'Rocky IV', in which Rocky takes on the monolithic Russian fighter Igor - and loses. ... See full summary »
After fifteen years' service, Henri Boulanger is made redundant from his job. Shocked, he attempts suicide, but can't go through with it, so he hires a contract killer in a seedy bar to murder him at some unspecified time in the future. But almost immediately he meets and falls in love with Margaret, a flower-seller, which makes Henri realise that his life has some meaning after all. But when he goes back to the bar to cancel the contract, he finds it has been demolished - and there's no way he can get in touch with the killer... Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
The settings are suitably grim and grimy. Most of the cast are oddly antisocial enough to fit neatly into the Kaurismaki vision of sixties' London bleakness. Jean-Pierre Leaud is morbidly deadpan in a truly Finnish way. Kenneth Colley is a wistful hit-man par excellence. The stifling dullness of the Orwellian ministry and the heartstopping nature of abrupt redundancy are beautifully drawn. The only thing that drags this movie down from Kaurismaki's usual lofty heights of cruel farce is the awful wooden performance by Margi Clarke as the "love" interest.
I have no idea why she was chosen ahead of the other 3 billion women on the planet to play the role, but she stinks up the place something rotten. She is so grimly unconvincing that I was grinding my teeth within ten minutes of her introduction. What should have been a brilliant dark comedy was turned into a dire soap episode by an artless performance of hitherto unimaginable ineptitude. It would appear that sublime irony is not her strongpoint. Nor is holding onto a single convincing accent for the duration. From Liverpool to Roedean in an hour. Hello nosebleed.
I've seen her play her usual gobby scouser part in innumerable "gritty" TV dramas, and found her bearable at worst. But here, she kills the atmosphere stone dead with her awful timing and dismal delivery. If only her performance was a joke of the "so bad it's good variety", but it isn't. It's just lame. I'm assuming that Aki cast her on the strength of Letter to Brezhnev or his brother's Helsinki-Napoli, but rarely has anyone been so wretchedly miscast in any of his movies. Even Joe Strummer comes out smelling of roses(and beer and cigs).
A real shame, because the mood of the movie is fantastic. The props and locations are homages to a London long since redeveloped. The giant Corona bottle in the pub is a particularly neat touch. As is the fact that everyone's smoking Players and Capstans. Worth a remake with a decent actress who has some understanding of irony and understatement.
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