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Dome Karukoski made himself known in the Finnish cinema with the movie 'Tyttö sinä olet tähti'. This movie is very similar in at least in two aspects: In both movies we can see "teenage" love tension. The girl in this movie, actor Marjut Maristo is actually about 23 years old and the boy is about 18 years old. The other similar thing about these movies is the lack of content and originality.
So how are these movies different? This movie has something which 'Tyttö sinä olet tähti' was lacking and that is pseudo artistic sequences. For example the beginning sequence in the rain with the gramophone was very tasteless and mockery to true art. I think the director must divide all music in two categories, there's pop music and there's Mozart. Even though I hadn't my hopes very high before, after this sequence I was completely prepared for a bad movie. There's of course nothing bad about Mozart, but I despise the way the music was used here in this shot.
After this the movie goes completely wild. We jump forward in time. The boy is having troubles with society and with himself and he is sent to an island with troubled kids. These kids are supposed to be very disturbed because of their past. However there's no guards and no rules whatsoever. We have a family here in the same cabin with these disturbed boys and they are having fun there as if they were on a vacation. Soon after arriving the main character Juhani gets a golden shower from these boys and he's isolated as punishment in a dark hole like in some Van Damme movie, but he won't squeal on the other boys. After he gets out he's now suddenly friends with these rednecks and don't even consider a revenge.
There's a lot's of stupid stuff going around in the movie, most of which are these pseudo artistic sequences where Juhani's past is revealed in small parts. One thing bothering me a lot is that there's no attempt to give a character for Juhani's mother, she's just silent. This is why her motivation (at the end scene of these flashbacks) remains completely curtained and I didn't buy it for a second. It's just one of the sequences where the characters in this movie do unimaginable things just to progress the plot and make it seem more complete. The actions of the character is based on nothing and are added just for "shock" value as many other sequences in the movie.
More of these types of sequences can be found in many places. One of the most funniest parts was a sequence where the brute (the largest of the boys) hurts himself and has to take his shirt off. The wife (in the family) is taking care of him and notices his scars. She gets turned on when she hears about the sexual and physical abuse of which the brutes father is responsible for. After this they end up having sex and this unbelievable "side plot" of passion has an incredibly unbelievable ending as well which culminates in a weird way with the emotions of the main character to make the side plot seem somehow relevant to the main plot.
I'm not going to talk in detail how this movie was made. I didn't notice anything original in the directing or in the storyline. The story is actually just typical Finnish erotic drama with no content and the actors can't shine in this movie no matter how hard they would try. This goes into same series with 'Levottomat' and other such movies. I would feel sorry for the actors if I didn't know that they got money by acting in this movie.
For a decent new Finnish movie it's better to see 'Paha Maa' by Aku Louhimies. It wasn't an attempt to make superb realism, but it's certainly more entertaining and atmospheric compared to this one.
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