A ski jumper descends from winning 4 Olympic Gold Medals, to serving two years for stabbing a relative. Careers as a stripper and singer, plus five marriages, replete with allegations of ... See full summary »
The story bases on four Finnish brothers, nicknamed 'the Eura Daltons' who received nation-wide notoriety for tearing gas pumps apart when they needed cash. The cast is an impressive one: ... See full summary »
Saara is a middle-aged doctor who one day finds out that her architect-husband Leo is having an affair with a younger woman, Tuuli. Instead of revealing her true identity, Saara pretends to... See full summary »
Juhani, 14 years old and tormented by a childhood trauma, has changed several foster parents from the age of eight. He is taken to an island, where there is a boys' home, run by a strict ... See full summary »
The tough Detective Vares, get hired by a friend accused of murdering a girl. His job is to find the real killer, but people aren't talking. Before he can get traction another homicide takes place- and things move toward a dire conclusion.
When a schoolteacher is sacked he projects his bad mood at his troubled teen son. He in turn buys a CD player from a pawnshop with counterfeit money. This causes a chain-reaction that ... See full summary »
When their bootlegging father ends up in jail, four twenty-something brothers need money to pay his debts to local crooks. Next, their 9-year-old half-sister is dumped on their doorstep by ... See full summary »
Initially Juha Veijonen was announced to play the leading role of Jussi Vares as in the earlier Vares films, but in March 2010 it was announced that he was unable to reprise the role and the replacement will be Antti Reini. See more »
The Scandinavian "Mystery" genre is amazing. There are astonishingly good series that come out of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland. "Private Eye Vares" is one of them. And it is one of the best. A number of "movies" in this series were made starting in 2011 (they're hard to find on IMDb; look for them under lead actor Antti Reini; someone else played Vares prior to Reini -- I've not seen those). A new movie is in the works, apparently, as I write this in 2014.
These are very, very noir, very hard-boiled, down to the Sam Spade-like voice-over in first-person narrative (is it me? I could listen to the sound of Antti Reini's voice endlessly -- although I don't understand a word of Finnish). It's a modern-day Dashiell Hammett. But there is also a lot of humor here, and the humor translates well for the English-speaking audience. There's really nothing more fun to watch than Antti Reini as Jussi Vares. But let's not stop there, all the actors -- all the characters -- are wonderful. Jussi's band of brothers includes a former pastor who now owns a bookstore (Pastori Alanen, played by Matti Onnismaa), a writer of bad fiction novels (Juhani Luusalmi, played by Eppu Salminen), a tabloid journalist (Ruuhio, played by Mikko Leppilampi), and a police homicide investigator (Komisario Markku Hautavainio, played by Ilkka Heiskanen). They're mostly a group of adorable, loyal, well-meaning, and clever, if scuzzy, drunks. I especially enjoy Inspector Hautavainio.
Other equally captivating characters come and go... like Anna (played by Maria Järvenhelmi), she's Jussi's neighbor -- a taxi driver by day, a pole dancer at night. And let's not forget "Antidote" (played by the wonderful Jasper Pääkkönen) -- who seems like a creepy, small-time crook, but is still sympathetically appealing.. and maybe not as bad as he seems.
The stories are complicated, challenging, and often surprising. I'll be up front that they can be quite violent. But Reini is so endearing as the lead character, I put up with the brutality. Vares is tough, but sweet (he loves cats!), and smart... He's so very smart. And... let's face it... he's incredibly sexy. He seems like a winner, but has a whiff of a loser about him. His relationships don't seem to last. So he's complicated and ambiguous. And maybe not the kind of guy you really want to bring home. Or... maybe he is....
It's a dark world that Vares and his pals occupy. But they are fun to watch!
And the music! The music is amazing, in movie after movie it mesmerizes. I especially enjoyed the soundtracks in Tango of Darkness and The Path of Righteous Men. Who would've known the Finnish are gaga for Tango?
Thanks to MHz Worldview International Mystery for airing these. And making them available on DVD. http://www.mhznetworks.org/programs/mystery-drama
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