The River (2001) Poster


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Finland as it is
Exiled_Archangel6 May 2005
Following my experience of Finland for slightly more than a week, I'd say this movie depicts the nature of the Finnish society very accurately. Especially the young-couple-with-a-baby-having-serious-issues phenomenon is very familiar to me, as I witnessed the exact same thing in person when I was in Finland. The relationships and problems of people, fragility of the marriage institution, the drinking culture, unemployment and the ascending money problem, all are very well put, without any subjectivity or exaggeration.

There are some points in the film that are not necessarily easy to comprehend and tie to each other, but the joint big picture is nonetheless rewarding. Not each one of the short stories is exciting or profound, but as said above, the big picture does not fail to deliver the feeling of "real life" and captivate the viewer. I happen to think in a calm moment: What is happening in the lives of all these people on the street? Well, this is what is happening. Movies like this are good to feed your imaginative power. It would be safe to assume this film could apply to the life in many countries, but it particularly reflects Finland as it is, and pretty damn well.

One comment about the acting: Being the fan of Finnish cinema I am, I've never seen any of these actors on any other movie, but I found the acting in this feature right next door to perfect overall. Maybe not a masterpiece, but a very good try by the entire crew. I'll be keeping an eye on the future releases of the director and the cast..

7,5 / 10
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Slow start to a more exciting finish
raymond-1518 October 2004
Half a dozen short stories of varying interest enlighten us about life in Finland. These stories are interwoven and each contains a scene in which a sonic boom is heard. This indicates that the events depicted happen at the same time.

The film begins with a bungy jump which promises some excitement but the early stories are quite low key. The film improves so stick with it. Two broken marriages in stories that follow provide plenty of drama while a scene in a hospital gives us a terminally ill patient begging for pain relief. The last moments with his wife are both convincing and moving.

While the various scenes of family life take place in Finland, the themes are of a general nature wherever you happen to live.

Collections of short stories are rarely as satisfying as a good tense 90-minute drama.
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touching kaleidoscope of eternal human events and emotions
jozsefbiro18 November 2002
The Finnish version of Robert Altman's "Short Cuts", set in the small rural town of Äänekoski. The episodes present a kaleidoscope of the eternal events, problems and emotions of human life: joy and love, deception and disillusionment, hopelessness and death. I was particularly impressed by two episodes. The first is the story of the young waitress, who tries to stir up a romance for his co-workers: she radiates an overwhelming joy of love and life. The other episode presents and old man dying in a hospital and his wife trying to help him die with dignity. Particularly striking is the way the old couple have to fight their way against the humiliating practices of the hospital and their loneliness contrasted with the "routines" of the hospital crew (despite the signs of occasional empathy). Compared with Altman's classic, this movie is perhaps less professional, but it is definitely a great piece of art.
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People in a welfare society
tuomas-savonen5 April 2005
Excellent movie, a realistic picture of contemporary Finland, touching and profound. One of the best Finnish films ever made. Captures marvelously the everyday life in a Central Finland small town, people's desires and weaknesses, joys and sorrows. The bright early fall sunshine creates a cool atmosphere to this lucid examination of people in a welfare society. Lampela is indeed one of the most promising Finnish filmmakers. He shows that it is possible to make gripping movies without machine guns and bloodshed. His next film Eila is also worth seeing although the story of cleaning women fighting for their jobs is not quite as universally appealing as the destinies in Joki.
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Top finnish film of the year
vpsh6626 October 2001
This is a top finnish film this year,although Tango Kabaree comes close.The Director Lampela made couple of years back another nice little film called Rakastin epätoivoista naista (I was in love with a desperate woman).Joki is truly true-to-life beautiful film of one saturday afternoon in a little village/town.The actors are maybe not so handsome or beautiful but they do act beautifully.I certainly do hope that many of them get JUSSI statue (finnish OSCAR) next spring.I think this film could make it abroad as well.
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Excellent movie, good acting
marten-andersson16 September 2001
Went to see this finnish film and I've got to say that it is one of the better films I've seen this year. The intrigue is made up of 5-6 different stories, all taking place the very same day in a small finnish town. The stories come together very nicely in the end, reminding, perhaps, a bit of the way Tarantino's movies are made. Most of the actors performed very well, which most certainly is needed in realistic dramas of this type. I especially enjoyed the acting by Sanna Hietala, the lead actress, and Juha Kukkonen. I noticed btw that IMDB has got the wrong information about Sanna. Her name, as you might have noticed in my review ;), is NOT Heikkilä, but Hietala.
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I loved it
livingacompletelie13 April 2007
I thought it was an extremely clever film. I was very pleased with it and truly couldn't' ask for more. I actually own the film because I didn't return it to someone... Which I should do, but I really want to keep it due to how much I enjoyed it. Also, the fact I don't own too many foreign films and this is a first. Now, I personally love Finnish stuff so, that definitely added to how much I enjoyed it. But overall, its worth watching. However, if you're not into the whole trying to understand Finnish or read Subtitles bit, then this film is not for you.

9/10 for sure.
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A moving slice of small-town life in central Finland
keith.mclennan25 March 2003
Set on a Saturday morning, "The River" tells six stories that take place during a sonic boom that changes lives forever. The film opens and closes with one of the stories as two boys try to save Anni, a single mother who wants to drown herself and her baby in the local river. The other episodes include the story of the chronically broke Esa, an unsuccessful musician who comes to his father's 60th birthday party with the intention of replenishing his ailing finances. Then there's the exuberant pizza waitress Leena, who is walking on air because she is in love and wants to matchmake her workmates to spread her happiness. Ilpo feels sick and reluctantly goes home early from work to discover that his wife is having an affair. An old couple are having their last moments together, with the husband in hospital with no hope of recovery. They battle bureaucracy to get the hospital to let him go home to die with dignity. Santeri, a Year 12 student, is on his way to see a girl he loves - but he has to sort out similar feelings he has for a male friend. Finally, a young girl falls in love for the first time in her life. We meet these people as they are confronted by great sorrow, unexpected happiness, difficult decisions, the end of a marriage, and matters of life and death.
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