Lugubrious Finns Valto and Reino take to the road in search of coffee and vodka, without which their lives are not worth living. But their reveries are interrupted by the arrival of ... See full summary »
In a comedy co-produced by Aki Kaurismäki, Sam Huber plays a young down-on-his-luck film director Ripa whose life keeps slipping more and more out of his control. Tax collectors and his ex-wife Pirjo (Merja Larivaara) are after his money (not that he has any), he cannot find work because everyone thinks his movies contain too much sex and violence and even his rich father (Vesa-Matti Loiri) openly mocks him for being such a loser. After getting a new nymphomaniac girlfriend Tiina (Mari Vainio), the stress drives Ripa further down the slippery slope into bizarre uncontrollable situations, involving gay S/M porn and even murder among other things.
The black and white cinematography, some shadowy lighting and the plot structure of a man facing overwhelming difficulties echo the style of classic noir movies that the protagonist is also a fan of. The changing soundtrack also emphasizes the tumultuous evolvement of Ripa's state of mind: rootsy rock'n'roll songs start making way for abrasive heavy rock as the story progresses. The messed up atmosphere is also strongly brought forward by the grainy avant-garde montages that mark the sex scenes and passage of time.
Even though at first the film seems more ordinary, there are rather crazy scenes worth seeing later in the film, such as Ripa's brief encounter with a married woman named Irma (Leena Uotila). Many of the performances are also pretty fun, such as Kari Väänänen as the idle cop Lynkkynen and Leo Raivio as the underground porn director Antti. Better known as the frontman of the funk band Eternal Erection, Sam Huber carries a slothful aura throughout and suits the lead role decently despite not having many film acting credits (he actually won a Debutants' Jussi Award for his performance). Vesa-Matti Loiri is also enjoyable as Ripa's narcissistic father.
I saw the movie with no expectations whatsoever, and it surely provided a positive surprise; with Finnish cinema usually being so conventional, it is refreshing to see that this type of anarchistic filmmaking also exists in the mainstream of the country. "Punky noir comedy" could be a way to describe Ripa ruostuu a subgenre I wish would be explored more... the results could be interesting.
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