6.4/10
486
5 user 12 critic

Muukalainen (2008)

A stranger arrives into a remote farm where a mute boy is living with his mother.

Director:

(as Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää)

Writers:

, (as Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää)
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4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Allan Bernard ... Guard #2
Vitali Bobrov ... The Boy
Emilia Ikäheimo ... The Mother
Heini Jaanus ... Bus Driver
Valmar Kass ... Police officer
Lauri-Kare Laos ... Police officer
Annabel Lepiste ... Child #3
... The Visitor
Martin Loo ... Child #1
Carmen Oroperv ... Child #2
Armin Pajula ... Guard #3
Maksim Podolski ... Guard #4
Pauli Poranen ... Man in a suit
... The Father
Hendrik Toompere Sr. ... Guard #1 (as Hendrik Toompere)
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Storyline

A stranger arrives into a remote farm where a mute boy is living with his mother.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

8 December 2008 (Estonia)  »

Also Known As:

Främlingen  »

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Box Office

Budget:

€1,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
The value of silence
9 December 2008 | by See all my reviews

Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää's The Visitor (not to be confused with the Thomas McCarthy picture starring Richard Jenkins) carries on the vital lesson of Aki Kaurismäki, according to whom images speak more potently than words, especially in Finnish cinema. Valkeapää doesn't go as far as Kaurismäki did (he actually made a silent film, Juha, in 1999), but gets pretty close thanks to his bold narrative choice of having a mute protagonist.

The character concerned by that condition is a young boy who lives in the woods of Northern Finland with his mother, while the old man serves jail time. One day, a stranger shows up at their doorstep, demanding some hospitality. The mother accepts, whereas the father, who hears word of the recent turn of events, advises the boy to get rid of the man on the grounds that something terrible might happen.

The plot is as painstakingly simple as they come (even Kaurismäki tends to add a little something extra in his scripts), perhaps because Valkeapää isn't really interested in story development (as highlighted by the blatantly unrevealing conclusion), or character for that matter. The only person in the film who gets more than his due share of attention is the boy, whose eyes and face are the closest we, the audience, can hope to receive as an emotional bridge connecting us to the movie. He's on camera something like 95% of the running time, and the director uses his silence to pinpoint the real selling point of the film: the kid's relationship with nature, the only thing as quiet as he. Since the story takes place in winter, Valkeapää guides us, through the protagonist's eyes, into a landscape so beautiful it beats the living crap out of the best Christmas postcards (the only better option is to actually be there during the holiday season).

It's the uncanny combination of cinematography and central performance (the boy is staggering as the film reaches its climax) that elevates The Visitor just as much as is necessary to be above the standards of a conventional (read: dull) drama. If nothing else, it certainly will make people want to see Finland with their own eyes (even though the film was actually shot in Estonia).

7,5/10


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