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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just stunning
Didn't really know what this film was going to be about when i started watching it...and that is sometimes the best way of discovering the occasional gem that the arthouse/world cinema genre throws up. I wouldn't necessarily want to compare it to anything mainstream i have seen, although Altman's "short cuts" does come to mind. However, frozen land feels much darker and...
Published on 6 July 2008 by Pause Break

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Acting, beautifully filmed but very bleak
It was very well acted with realistic people, beautifully filmed and very clever plot following the Euro 500 note, but I failed to see any of the warmth mentioned in the description, only desperation and sheer hopelessness of the characters. It wasn't a feel good movie at all - very bleak and left the viewer wondering what chance there is for the unemployed, depressed...
Published 8 months ago by J. Kennedy


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just stunning, 6 July 2008
This review is from: Frozen Land (Paha Maa) [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
Didn't really know what this film was going to be about when i started watching it...and that is sometimes the best way of discovering the occasional gem that the arthouse/world cinema genre throws up. I wouldn't necessarily want to compare it to anything mainstream i have seen, although Altman's "short cuts" does come to mind. However, frozen land feels much darker and personally involving. From the very first scene it sets up the 'off-centre' nature of the entire film and then it almost allows you to meander around the various main characters, deciding on who you sympathise with, who you dislike, who to worry for, who you want things to work out for etc.

Acting throughout is superb, with very naturalistic performances being provided by all concerned. It might not necessarily be a feel-good movie, but it is definitely one i would recommend as an example of high quality european cinema. Why it has not been recognized internationally, I don't know. Perhaps it doesn't fit into the quirky comedy bracket that finnish films have already been pigeon-holed into, but personally I would like to see more films as thoughtful and engaging as this one. A beautiful revelation of a film.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mechanics Of Causality, 13 July 2010
This review is from: Frozen Land (Paha Maa) [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
Amazon kept displaying this one on my recommendations list but because the cover looked really boring i kept ignoring Paha Maa as an option - what a fool! Thankfully, curiosity killed the cat and i decided to invest some of my time in this relatively unknown Finnish flick; firstly, by reading some of the reviews posted on these pages and secondly, by watching the trailer posted on Youtube, which is very good by the way.

Paha Maa has got it all; excellent directing; interesting and quirky characters; strong performances from all the cast; beautiful, ominous landscapes; a clever and intriguing plot loaded with a whole bag full of emotions and subject matters including: dry humour, sadness, romance, revenge, remorse, physical and mental abuse, alcohol and drug addiction.

The story begins at a party with an intoxicated drug addict forging a 500 euro bank note simply because he desires a little light relief from his unhappy existance; then, we metaphorically follow this faux currency as it not only changes numerous hands but also the lifes of every person who comes into contact with it, either directly or inadvertently. The story concludes where it commenced, resulting in an excellent examination in the effects of causality but slightly different to the conventional angle depicted in the "what goes around comes around scenario" adopted by so many other filmmakers and authors alike.

Sometimes the word masterpiece is branded about too easily; i've been guilty of getting a little over excited about certain flicks in the past myself, and finally realised the error in my judgement at a much later date; but, Paha Maa is definitely what i'd consider worthy of such high praise when refering to the mechanics of storytelling. This exquiste little gem from the Nordic regions is highly recommended for anyone interested in witnessing the seed of mischief grow within a small community, albeit via an elaborate prank, and rapidly blossom into a canopy of destruction.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Finnish films I have seen, 1 July 2009
By 
L. Peltonen "The Finn" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Frozen Land (Paha Maa) [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
The Tolstoy -inspired story will not give you emotional highs and lows, it will most certainly not offer you fireworks. Loyal to the somewhat stereotypical Finnish genre, it is grey and bleak but oh so entertaining!
Based around a forged 500 note, like a butterfly effect it leads to domestic violence, murder, drugs, death of a police woman, sodomy etc. but somehow provides you with humorous 'laugh-out-loud' scenes. The film raises a variety of emotions: depression, laughter, embarrasment, sympathy etc.
I would recommend this to everyone who would like to experience something different.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Film 2005, 25 April 2007
This review is from: Frozen Land (Paha Maa) [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
This is no action movie, albeit there is some action in it. This is no film about adolescents planning a big coup, although they are actually doing so. Finally, this is no Finnish "Pulp Fiction", because the movie is much too serious and realistic for that. This is European art cinema, not some Hollywood blood-run. And it is not the typical Finnish depression movie in the style of Kaurismäki and others, albeit depression plays an important role in it. I could go on telling you what the film is not, but I simply say: To me, it was the best movie in 2005. Why? Because it leads us into the abysses of the human soul like few other movies I know of. You will need strong nerves to digest it, but the following catharsis will amply repay you. This is a masterpiece. It would merit every award I can think of (and actually the film has won some, albeit minor ones).
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, sad and beautiful, 14 Nov 2007
This review is from: Frozen Land (Paha Maa) [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
I caught this film late night on SBS in Australia and stayed up watching it til 3am despite having to get up at 6am the next day. It's that kind of film, different, wonderfully shot that draws you into wondering what happens next so you have to follow it through. It's arty but accessible, I recommend it to anyone who fancies something a little different - and now it's available for so much cheaper than the import price it's going to be a must to add to my collection.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like visual glue, 21 Jan 2008
By 
S. Nichols (Menai Bridge, Anglesey, North of Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Frozen Land (Paha Maa) [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
I was glued to the film from start to Finnish (haha).
Some great character's, especially the man with the mullet (car thief) who's attempts to do anything resulted in moments of pure comedy.
The greatest achievement of this film was it's ability flow from one story to another so effortlessly.
A clever, simple, at times dark and at times funny film.
Would of given it 5 had I have found out who was driving that Ford Sierra.

I say watch it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great Acting, beautifully filmed but very bleak, 7 Jan 2014
By 
J. Kennedy "Jaffa" (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Frozen Land (Paha Maa) [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
It was very well acted with realistic people, beautifully filmed and very clever plot following the Euro 500 note, but I failed to see any of the warmth mentioned in the description, only desperation and sheer hopelessness of the characters. It wasn't a feel good movie at all - very bleak and left the viewer wondering what chance there is for the unemployed, depressed citizens of Finland. I wasn't looking for a 'happy ever after' ending, however some uplifting moment, anything, would have given the viewer a bit of entertainment in an otherwise depressing group of stories. Too many desperate, unhappy endings and miserable people in one film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a forgotten classic, 27 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Frozen Land (Paha Maa) [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
Life is dictated by fate , you decide upon one action and that small step affects all around you . This is a linear story working through a handful of characters; the unemployed lecturer , his waster son , his computer friend , posh girl friend , a forged note and those who find it , consequence , the wrong turning , anger , drunkenness , how bad can life get , how low will you stoop ,.... a truly brilliant shocking look at life and how a simple hoover can change so many peoples lives. Wow !
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5.0 out of 5 stars I think the message is "to avoid being a bloated suicide/alcoholic, don`t move to Finland", 3 Aug 2011
By 
Little Cat Voom (The middle of England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Frozen Land (Paha Maa) [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
If it was made by a non-Finn, I reckon their tourist board would be filing a lawsuit. Not to say that there isn`t a sort of beauty in the unremitting bleakness of the landscape; it`s just that drink, depression and isolation seems unavoidable, and that this sense of non-connection prevents any meaningful human relationships and results in some very bad decision making...and in this excellent film, one act at the beginning has a lot of dire consequences. There`s also something about the language that seems to prevent openness and warmth (although that may just be to English ears), which really emphasises the cold/frozen feel. My interpretation is that this film seeks to offer some sort of existentialist take on life - that very bad things happen to good people, bad people, anyone really; the only thing you can do is control your reaction to those things, and struggle on.

I really enjoyed Frozen Land though, as did my wife. We didn`t feel a warm fuzzy glow afterwards (even though there is a sense of redemption for one of the main characters), more of an appreciation of the performances and superb interlinking storyline (the story alludes to Tolstoy`s "False Coupon"; his influence is acknowledged through a name-check in the literature class). Some horrible circumstantial bad luck is suffered by more than one of the characters; for example, the Vacuum Cleaner salesman; he has a very bad, and unusual, day. And he isn`t the only one! The schoolteacher from the opening scene has a bad few years, and our "hero", the schoolteacher`s son, seems to be the only one emerging from the film in a better state than he started it. From the depressed policewoman and her husband - who starts the film with a nice new job, something which arguably sets all the events of the film into action - to the rather unsavoury salesman/conman/thief who all but vomits over the women he is trying to entice with his (counterfeit) 500 euro note, there is nothing but bad things awaiting. But it is done in such a way that there are some moments of black humour in the bleakest scenes, and its also performed so convincingly that your belief isn`t suspended (even though coincidences are pivotal to connecting each different storyline, it is not in a Deus ex Machina way). Ultimately, I recommend this film very highly, even though fun would be the wrong word to describe the experience - something like fulfilling, absorbing or rewarding would be more appropriate.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a second viewing, 17 Feb 2011
By 
Mr. R. K. Tatschner (Reading, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Frozen Land (Paha Maa) [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
Based on Leo Tolstoy's novella The False Coupon, this is an intriguing journey into the ripples of cause and effect. The story passes from character to character as the impact affect them. The film appears to make a figure eight of events in that it goes full circle, at which point I was expecting the credits. Instead it then embarks on another circle apparently in an attempt to clear up the loose threads. I feel this could have been done better.

However it is well worth the watch. Based in alcohol soaked Finland the story starts with a middle aged teacher being made redundant in favour of a younger IT teacher. This leads to him pawning his son's Hifi for some beer. The son leaves home in anger and meets with some friends who take him in. From their computer he prints out a 500 euro note which he passes off to an old lady minding the pawn shop to recover his Hifi. The pawn shop owner then passes the dud to a car salesman who ends up arrested when he tries to pass the note in a restaurant. He vents his fury on the Pawnbroker and goes on a bender where he meets a failing vacuum cleaner salesman. They go on a bender to end all benders ending in the car salesman and his whore being murdered. The policewoman who comes to investigate gives chase to a man she presumes is the killer only to trip and fall under a train in a goods yard. She is the wife of a young IT teacher. End of first loop and the point where I think the credits should be.

However, leaving you a moment to get your breath, the film starts off again with the counterfeiter being recruited to be the lookout in a factory break-in. When he sees the police arrive, on their way to a murder, he panics and makes his getaway leaving the burglar to run into a goods yard. A policewoman gives chase with the already predicted outcome. The man is arrested and convicted of manslaughter. A five year jump to his release and the final confrontation with the husband of the policewoman ties all the loose ends together.

A great deal of care has been taken in the characterisations as all are believable people placed in extraordinary circumstances. It's a fast paced and very good film.
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Frozen Land (Paha Maa) [2007] [DVD]
Frozen Land (Paha Maa) [2007] [DVD] by Aku Louhimies (DVD - 2007)
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