"Haaveiden kehä" is a movie of an aging man, whose main interest in life has been bringing up his two sons after the death of their mother. As a fanatic boxing coach, the only way he knows is to make them "stand three rounds". Boxing is his whole life, and he believes it will keep his children on the bright side of life.
I watched this movie on DVD with English subtitles, as I was unable to turn them off. Slightly annoying (as I am Finnish), but also interesting in a way. I had a chance to compare the subtitles with the dialog. It was a major disappointment. In my opinion, the clever and creative dialog is the best part of the movie, and the most of it was lost in the translation process. I still don't blame anyone on that. It is probably impossible to do much better work, as the space is so limited in the subtitles, and the dialog so witty. The expressions used are in many occasions somewhat unrealistic. No ten-year-old speaks like Kosti in this movie. It doesn't really matter. The implementation of the boxing terminology to the real life works very well and gives good laughs for those understanding Finnish.
Sulevi Peltola is created for the role of a sad, grumpy old man. The acting altogether is kept in the minimum, a very Finnish choice, and one can't help making a comparison to Aki Kaurismäki. There are many differences, of course, in the style of dialog at least. The main difference still is in the depth of the story. Ijäs provides us a lot more interesting personalities, with their histories following them to every decision they make.
Altogether, the movie has a lot to offer, including a bit of a crime story also. Apparently the most important part still is the relationship between the two boys and their father, stuck to his principles. The number of characters might be a subject to criticism, as too much attention is paid to unimportant people. On the other hand, actors like Antti Litja just kind of have to be given space, however little difference their characters make.
Clearly this is a movie for men, as all the questions raised mostly apply to men only. Women spectators might also find it annoying to see how helpless the men seem to be, the women being the organizing force, the light to show the way. It is kind of an old idea for a movie. But still, it is worth watching. And if you are one of those people having been brought up by a father more interesting in your success in sports than your happiness, this movie is a must.
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