1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
No Sentiment Please, we're Finish.,
This review is from: Calamari Union [DVD] (DVD)Take a gang of desperado's, one a heroic leader, one a maverick cowboy, a romantic and so on, each a towering character in his own right. They set out on an epic quest across the galaxy to find the promised land, a new start for mankind. To reach their goal they have to cross a vast sprawling metropolis of alien life, they don't all make it, but those that do are the heroes of legends.
Now, to mould this scenario into Calamari Union just needs a few tweaks. The desperado's are all Finish men called Frank. The same characters are all there but the maverick cowboy is more "scary lunatic", the romantic is a has been amateur pub rocker, his imagination might be bigger than his libido but aren't we all doomed to that creeping fate? The quest is still to find a better place but they just have to get across Helsinki, there are no aliens only regular Finish people. And that is the "epic-ness" of the Finish interstellar tale. Without the inflated egos on screen it's easy to become part of the film, that's what makes it so gripping. It would be interesting to find out if Fins have the same view, I somehow doubt it. There was a long running stage play in London called "No Sex Please, we're British", hence the No Sentiment tag.
Aki Kaurismaki has them dicing with death to get across the city, quite why it is so dangerous isn't clear, for me the film lost some coherence here. Maybe this is Kaurismaki's view of city life, then is he making a comment which doesn't necessarily belong to this story? Why are all the men called Frank? Does this reflect the anonymity of modern living? Probably, maybe that's what the film was about and that would be one of Kaurismaki's recurring themes too. It is a bleak film which seems so typical in Finland and Scandinavia but Kaurismaki makes it very pointed and idiosyncratic. He has a style of his own which is quite evident here and shooting in black and white serves to emphasize and add to that style.
Don't expect a happy or heroic ending, I won't give it away here because frankly I'm not sure I understood it but you can expect a thought provoking experience, though disjointed at times I feel it is worth the effort to see something other than predictable mush and sugar-coasted sentimentality (you know who you are).