|Index||8 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Finnish mind as described by the director as such: When Newsweek
published an article stating Finland is the best place to live, ppl in
Finland didn't believed it and prove the stats wrong by recalculating.
The new result hoisted Sweden, the Fin's neighbour and nemesis.
Reminancent of Ben Hammer's explanation of Kitchen Stories.
Before going into the film, I looked up that Lapland is a geographic region of northern Finland or other close-by neighbours. Apparently, unemployment is high, and as the director put it - it is not surprising to have suicide rates greater than traffic mortality rates. And given the sparse traffic - that high ratio (not necessarily #) may not be shocking. (all info by the director)
This film has that in mind (also explained the director @tiff 2010) - a non-didactic look to lift Northern Finns out of their second best performances, inheritance and even mentality.
The story is basically a winter road movie, and like all road movies, it is about discovery of self - but with sort of a funny twist. I like the fact that the characters are fairly real and likable, not eccentric for the "quirky need" of being eccentric at all. The 3 main friends each have their own hang-ups, and along the way finding each own solutions. The downside is - I didn't see "how" all the decision came about - as in real life - change, drastic, life altering change takes time. If only a movie can capture that. But still a good ride.
** spoilers*** This is probably just me, but the funniest sequence for me is the bar fight. The fight goes outdoors, but the stationary camera is from behind the bar - focusing on a glass of beer.
And on top, the quick background 5 min introduction part is priceless. But the ending is a bit too optimistic for me. But I accept it for the good intention that it means and needs to be.
I have to admit that there was a lot of hype here in Finland
surrounding the release of this movie in theaters. Finns are often very
eager to see good films produced about their own country. While the
selection of Finnish movies may be quite slim, pretty much all of them
literally deserve good mention.
However no Finnish movie deserves as much mention as 'Napapiirin Sankarit' Take one completely fed up girlfriend and her final order to fulfill a 'certain seemingly very simple request'. Give that to one immature misguided goof and add his 2 similar-minded friends to the equation. Finish all of that off with a destination hundreds of kilometres away and a 24 hour time limit.
Can anyone say 'disaster road-trip'? What ensued was perhaps one of the most hilarious pan-out of events I have ever watched in my life. Filled with laughs, tears and an ending that you could have never guessed you in your life. Napapiirin Sankarit is a movie that will not be leaving your thoughts for a very, long time. This movie is a humorously 'chilling' reminder that life (and relationships especially) are very fragile things.
I recommend this movie to anyone who is trying learn what 'Finland' is all about. While the story may seem fictional to most, the events that transpire in this movie are 'more-than-likely' reality for Finns.
Don't waste your time reading my review, go out and watch this movie. For it is one movie that you will never regret sitting down to watch. Just remember if you don't understand Finnish to keep the subtitles on hand, you'll need them!
The genre is immediately apparent: it's a "three or four dumb guys spend a wild night getting into a series of ridiculous predicaments" flick, though in this case the guys are in Finnish Lapland, a wildly beautiful wilderness whose inhabitants endure some of the hardest climatic and economic conditions in Scandanavia. The film has the faults typical of its genre: much the the humor is silly, and some of the action scenes aren't very realistic. The film gains an interest beyond what's typical of its genre by the Lapland landscape's bleak grandeur, which is brilliantly painted by the cinematography of Pini Hellstedt, and by the acting of Jussi Vatanen, a leading Finnish actor whose performance at first may seem understated for a comedy, but who by the end achieves a Chaplin-like comic pathos. Those sensitive to feminine pulchritude will also appreciate the presence of the extremely fetching Pamela Tola as the female lead. The image quality on the Artsploitation Films Region 1 DVD is very good (it's a standard DVD which I watched on a Blu-Ray player,) though it would be worth while watching this on Blu-Ray if it ever is re-issued in that format, the better to appreciate the spectacular landscape photography. In Finnish with English subtitles. The DVD comes with an insert which gives interesting background information on the film and an interview with the director, though much of the text is in irritatingly tiny print. Advisories: occasional language, a couple of mildly explicit adult situations, but basically pretty tame for the genre.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In northern Finland in December, Inari (Pamela Tola) has had enough of
her slacker husband of 9 years, Janne (Jussi Vatanen); first, she's
given him 50 Euros to buy a digital recorder but he's blown the money
on booze and just fooling around. So she gives him an ultimatum bring
home a digital box by 9 AM tomorrow or she's leaving. Janne and his two
buddies Kapu (Jasper Paakkonen) and Tapio (Timo Lavikainen) set off in
a borrowed car to the nearest big town, 200 kilometres away. Janne has
no idea how he'll find the money to buy the machine, but he's sure
he'll think of something. In the meantime, he doesn't know that an old
flame of Inari's has decided to make moves of his own on her in Janne's
This is your basic winter road trip movie, Finnish-style. The men are all in their 30s and completely irresponsible; the women are all long-suffering but willing to give their guys just a little bit more time in the hopes that they'll somehow grow up. There's various high-jinks, run-ins with cops, naked men running around with paintball guns oh, and an underwater rugby team made up entirely of gorgeous Swedish women. Your tolerance of this movie will relate directly to your tolerance for all such movies; I suspect men will find it funnier than women, overall, and women are more likely to just roll their eyes. Performances are all fine, but the plot just does not appeal.
One of Dome Karukoski's earlier films and certainly one of his
funniest, Lapland Odyssey is essentially a catastrophe road-trip movie.
A deadbeat man living in the months long night of Lapland gets an
ultimatum from his wife. Either he gets her the digital television
adapter he has been promising her for ages, or they're through. And he
only has until the morning to do so. The only problem? It's already
late evening, he has no car and the nearest all-night electronics store
is hundreds of kilometers away.
From that basic setting we end up getting one of the funniest Finnish films I've ever seen. And I think the reason why I found this to be so funny, when Finnish film humour usually does nothing for me, is the fact that the characters take it so seriously. For the man and his two equally deadbeat friends this is truly an odyssey. They're on a quest to save to man's marriage and they will go to extreme lengths to achieve their goal. No winking at the camera, no forced jokes, no pop culture or modern events references. Just great characters and them getting into trouble.
The film is also beautifully shot, well-acted and features some stunning shots of winter Lapland. If I had to name one problem, I'd say that the Finnish stereotypes can be a bit forced from time to time. Oftentimes they're the best source of humour in the film, but from time to time they wander into groan territory. Still, a very minor problem in the grand scheme of things.
Lapland Odyssey is certainly worth a watch for all fans of comedy and for all those that have liked one of Karukoski's other films.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the past years a smattering of films was released that were set in
Lapland. Swedish titles like Frostbiten and Babas Bilar (both from
2006) come to mind as well as in Finland Rare Exports and Lapland
Odyssey (both from 2010).
All these films are characterised by what may be described as a typically northern, undercooled type of humor. And, typically, they are all set during the dark, snowy Arctic winter.
Lapland Odyssey (Napapiirin sankarit) is more than the others a straightforward comedy. The protagonist is your typical slacker. In an American road movie, he'd be a pothead, but in Lapland alcohol is still the drug of choice. This loser is set the task to, for one time in his life, not disappoint his girlfriend. His fluctuating luck sees him among other things nearly drowned by an all-female underwater rugby team and nearly shot by Russians and after all his tribulations he is left empty-handed standing in front of the house, ready to acknowledge defeat when a deus ex machina arrives...
I thought it was actually worth watching.
Napapiirin sankarit is an overly hyped Finnish movie that was said to
portray a life of Finnish men. Well firstly the main characters in this
film are hollow caricatures of the group of people they portray. They
are nothing but stupid and live on welfare. That just seems boring and
offensive enough and just every aspect of the plot is made clear in the
beginning. I only found myself smiling a few times but that doesn't
really make a good comedy because the film itself was dragging all the
It felt like the film lacked many elements that make it watchable and smooth. Firstly the characters weren't all that interesting, they just were plain stupid. Now that isn't enough for a viewer to actually care about them. Secondly the plot seriously needed more depth to it to make it last for the 90 minutes. Thirdly it seems like the script was written in a day as it isn't that complex. Fourthly the old and used clichés should have been avoided because this film is just full of them.
Lastly, all Finnish movies need some Russian character to misbehave or just remind of the second world war. It's amazing how many clichés can be packed in just one movie.
Of course i understand that in farce comedies everything seems to go wrong but at least it should be funny. I don't know that would i actually need a mindset of a woman to actually find the overall silliness of the men really funny.
An unimaginative guy's booze, boobs and bravado flick. A loafer boyfriend is told by his girlfriend that he needs to get a cablebox so they can watch "Titanic" or she leaves so he and his two similarly goofball, loafer, less-than-responsible buddies drive what is suppose to be a couple of hundred kilometers (the actual times and distances make 10 kilos more likely) looking for a store or some other source that has the cablebox. Essentially the movie showcases the dumb slapstick mistakes they make at a level that would make a juvenile hyped. Made in 2010 and now being released in DVD so that tells you something.
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