M arrives in Helsinki only to be viciously attacked by thugs and pronounced dead by medics. He revives but with no memory of his past or his identity. He rebuilds his life from scratch, but the past inevitably catches up with him.
Lugubrious Finns Valto and Reino take to the road in search of coffee and vodka, without which their lives are not worth living. But their reveries are interrupted by the arrival of ... See full summary »
After fifteen years' service, Henri Boulanger is made redundant from his job. Shocked, he attempts suicide, but can't go through with it, so he hires a contract killer in a seedy bar to ... See full summary »
Koistinen is a sad sack, a man without affect or friends. He's a night-watchman in Helsinki with ideas of starting his own business, but nothing to go with those intentions. He sometimes talks a bit with a woman who runs a snack trailer near his work. Out of the blue, a young sophisticated blonde woman attaches herself to Koistinen. He thinks of her as his girlfriend, he takes her on her rounds. She's in league with a crook who's planning a jewel robbery, and Koistinen is their patsy. Will he ever wise up?Written by
Suomen Filmikamari, which selects the Finnish candidate for Academy Awards Best Foreign-Language Picture, had already chosen Laitakaupungin valot in September 2006, but in October 2006 Aki Kaurismäki informed them that he did not want his film considered for that competition. This also meant that there was no Finnish entry in the Academy Awards pre-selection. See more »
[Bank manager is reviewing Koistinen's application for a small-business loan]
Tell me, Koistinen... Are you some kind of comedian?
Did you come to cheer us up? What are these papers? A trade school diploma... Did you think it will give you a loan of two hundred thousand - without any security, any guarantors?
I'll guarantee it myself, until the company gets going and...
Guarantees from trash like you are worthless.
But I've got an account here.
I won't even take your application...
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Compared to normal Hollywood movies I still enjoy Kaurismäki's films, but this is definitely not one of his best ones.
One of the biggest problems of this film is the director's attitude towards his main character. Koistinen's situation is getting worse with every action he takes. That's not the problem, but Kaurismäki doesn't offer a minimum of possible explanations to Koistinen's behaviour.
I don't expect a complete interpretation of his work by a director or by an author, but as a viewer of a film or as a reader of a book you need at least some information to start at. So I can only imagine that the reasons for Koistinen's behaviour lie in his state of mind and/or in his past.
But this is criticism at a high level. There are still some typical Kaurismäki-scenes in this film which I like a lot.
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