A story about a troubled boy growing up in England, set in 1983. He comes across a few skinheads on his way home from school, after a fight. They become his new best friends even like family. Based on experiences of director Shane Meadows.
Sixteen-year-old Lilja and her only friend, the young boy Volodja, live in Estonia, fantasizing about a better life. One day, Lilja falls in love with Andrej, who is going to Sweden, and invites Lilja to come along and start a new life.
Koistenin is a sad sack, a man without affect or friends. He's a night-watchman in Helsinki with ideas of starting his own business, but nothing to go with those intentions. He sometimes talks a bit with a woman who runs a snack trailer near his work. Out of the blue, a young sophisticated blonde woman attaches herself to Koistenin. He thinks of her as his girlfriend, he takes her on her rounds. She's in league with a crook who's planning a jewel robbery, and Koistenin is their patsy. Will he ever wise up? Written by
[Bank manager is reviewing Koistinen's application for a small-business loan]
Tell me, Koistinen... Are you some kind of comedian?
Did you come to cheer us up? What are these papers? A trade school diploma... Did you think it will give you a loan of two hundred thousand - without any security, any guarantors?
I'll guarantee it myself, until the company gets going and...
Guarantees from trash like you are worthless.
But I've got an account here.
I won't even take your ...
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Night watchman Koiskinen lives an alienated life. Ridiculed and shunned by his workmates, regarded as incompetent by his employers, he lives alone, drinks alone, and only manages to talk in any decent way with the woman who sell hot dogs in the fast food stand. His life changes when a mysterious blond takes a sudden and unexpected interest in him.
As a Kaurismaki novice, I was struck by the spartan sets, strong primary colours, and the actors penchant for walking briskly into frames and then freezing, akin to amateur theatre in the village hall. Once you figure out it is all a send up, the film is fun and moves along quickly enough. The dry, pared down dialogue, lack of sentiment, and black humour are interspersed judiciously. There seems to be a record attempt for number of cigarettes smoked in a film going on. The Finnish attitude to alcohol makes Scotland seem like Utah. Throughout it all, Koiskinen infuriates with his passivity. His minor triumph at the end, finally making the right decision, is small, fleeting and perfect in this context. The film is both downbeat and uplifting. I don't recommend watching Kaurismaki films back-to-back, but as an antidote to an overdose of Transformers or Harry Potter, this works perfectly.
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