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Täältä tullaan, elämä! (1980)
You had to be there to really get it, I suppose...
As a Finnish and Helsinki citizen I find this movie to be one of the best Finnish movies ever. I'd label it as "Finnish Neo-realism" if there ever was such a genre, because it represents the early-80s Helsinki in such a realistic way that it is almost part documentary. I was a kid in Helsinki those days, and I remember my city like it was in the picture. Cold, hostile and full of concrete:)
I like the way this movie is shot, it's not trying to be cool or "right" looking all the time. I guess Tapio Suominen worked with a minimum crew on the streets of Helsinki. Partly due to fact that Finnish cinema was going downhills fast (or was already in the bottom) and there was no money to spend around, but also because it worked well with the DIY-punk attitude of movie and the look. I love the way this movie looks. It looks very much like the early 80s were in Finland, sort of DDR-grey, dull and pale.
I just LOVE the way the characters speak in this movie, how they act and behave. I'm not sure what "tarkkailuluokka" is in English (sort of special class for disturbed and antisocial youth, who can't cope with normal classes in school), but like the attitude was in those days and in this movie, the kids who were in "tarkkailuluokka" were thought to be destined for criminal / jail career. The kids in this movie are very much like those in my youth. Of course there are reasons for this behavior, kids' parents drinking, not being there for the kid etc. Problems that are universal. It's a story of a young soul, who eventually will be killed in the process, because there is no place for dreamers.
Director Kaurismäki found his trusted actress Kati Outinen from this movie, in her first major movie role, and she was as wonderful as ever.
Casino Royale (2006)
Cynical story with a poor plot
I didn't like this film. I think the marketing department have done a wonderful job promoting this movie, but that doesn't make this a good film. Firstly: the script is lame, an anti-climax to say to least. The viewer is left with dissatisfaction. Bond doesn't meet his enemy in the final battle, someone else does the dirty job for him (!). In this way Bond is castrated, left unsatisfied (with the viewer). The end is all too depressing, not because of the story, but because it's bad screen writing. It's more like a very long TV-series episode, but it doesn't work well as an independent feature film, with a beginning, middle and the ending. It limps.
I suppose the meaning with all this violence, betrayal and nihilism in the movie was to explain Bond as person, why he has become that what he is. The problem of course is, that there already is about 20 Bond films that have shaped the Bond archetype, the ideal Bond that we all know and love. A heroic figure, who never loses his cool. A British gentleman. In "Casino Royale" however, our Bond is a temperamental hot blooded thug, who goes after the bad guy to stab him with a knife, just because he got humiliated at the poker table??? I highly suspect that this psycho would have passed the British Secret service psych-tests, no no no...
The plot has lot of other stupidities and silliness. The actions and appearance of those Uganda soldiers to collect their money from the main villain, Le Chiffre, was unnecessary. It came just too rapidly, out of nowhere, and was useless to the plot basically. There was no need to emphasize the villain's greed for money, it's taken for granted. Also when they tried to kill Bond in the hotel, it's not really believable. Professional soldiers wouldn't mess like that and attract unnecessary attention to themselves. It was just for bang bang action I guess, to write them stupid. The poisoning scene and how to survive out of it was just plain ridiculous.
Another stupid question is, how come Bond didn't suspect the Vesper Lynd character when she "somehow" managed to survive from the torture chamber? The end of the movie is down right depressing, nihilism at it's worst. Well, maybe it explains our main character and his motives in the future: A misogynist killer, who has a license to kill and doesn't trust nobody
Just to be fair, there was few scenes where it looked promising. The action sequence in the beginning was good, as always. Superb action very well done and choreographed. Few scenes with Vesper Lynd and Bond flirting also had a classy quality, which reminded me of the old Bond charm.
I suppose the writers had a task to update Bond to this day, but I'm not sure if this is the right way. "More realistic" is what many have said about Casino Royale, what ever that means. Sure, Bond is now more cynical and more full of hate than ever, so if it reflects the values of world today, maybe it is "realistic" then.