The second part of Aki Kaurismäki's "Finland" trilogy, the film follows a man who arrives in Helsinki and gets beaten up so severely he develops amnesia. Unable to remember his name or ... See full summary »
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 »
A bizarre black-and-white film noir reworking of Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. After the death of his father, young Hamlet inherits a seat on the board of a company controlled by his uncle that ... 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
[Worried that Koistinen will squeal]
He'll talk. He'll tell them about me.
Koistinen will never betray you. He's loyal as a dog, a sentimental fool. My genius lies in understanding that.
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Night watchman Koiskinen lives an alienated life. Ridiculed and shunned by his workmates, regarded as incompetent by his employers, he lives alone, drinks alone, and only manages to talk in any decent way with the woman who sell hot dogs in the fast food stand. His life changes when a mysterious blond takes a sudden and unexpected interest in him.
As a Kaurismaki novice, I was struck by the spartan sets, strong primary colours, and the actors penchant for walking briskly into frames and then freezing, akin to amateur theatre in the village hall. Once you figure out it is all a send up, the film is fun and moves along quickly enough. The dry, pared down dialogue, lack of sentiment, and black humour are interspersed judiciously. There seems to be a record attempt for number of cigarettes smoked in a film going on. The Finnish attitude to alcohol makes Scotland seem like Utah. Throughout it all, Koiskinen infuriates with his passivity. His minor triumph at the end, finally making the right decision, is small, fleeting and perfect in this context. The film is both downbeat and uplifting. I don't recommend watching Kaurismaki films back-to-back, but as an antidote to an overdose of Transformers or Harry Potter, this works perfectly.
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