- Actors: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Margi Clarke, Kenneth Colley, T.R. Bowen, Imogen Claire
- Directors: Aki Kaurismäki
- Writers: Aki Kaurismäki, Peter von Bagh
- Producers: Aki Kaurismäki, David P. Kelly, Katinka Faragó, Klas Olofsson, Martin Bruce-Clayton
- Format: VHS
- Language: English, Finnish
- Classification: 15
- Studio: Electric Pictures
- VHS Release Date: 17 Aug. 1998
- Run Time: 148 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00004R733
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 470,599 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
I Hired A Contract Killer/The Match Factory Girl [VHS]
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
A double bill of Aki Kaurismaki films. In 'I Hired a Contract Killer', an East End clerk is so desperately lonely that he hires a hitman to put him out of his misery. Unfortunately, the clerk then proceeds to fall in love, but has no way of cancelling the contract to have his life terminated. 'The Match Factory Girl' is the tale of a modern-day Cinderella - the down-at-heel Iris, who works on a factory assembly line.
Top customer reviews
However, the surroundings suit the films' themes perfectly; after all, the stories are hardly about shiny, happy people holding hands. The first one is about a man who is made redundant and decides to kill himself, and the second one about a lonely unhappy girl who sleeps with a disturbingly emotionless man.
Although Kaurismäki's storylines are remarkably full of ideas in their simplicity, the small details and oneliners are worth mentioning. The harshness with which the hero of the first film is sacked and the lack of verbal communication by Iris's parents ar just two examples of Kaurismaki's eye for detail. Every single gesture and word is meaningful and has been carefully thought about by the director.
All in all, these films should be regarded as masterpieces of black comedy.
It is a dark film, deliberately clothed with a heavy, listless mood and fringed with a sharp hint of psychological suspense. There are no theatrical effects, flamboyant scenes or mayhem spilled from high drama. Kaurismäki uses shadows, light, the sound of footsteps and also unusual objects like half-finished coffee in a tea-cup or a bottle of juice left on a table - where the camera may zoom in for a time - to create quiet curiosity in a viewer's mind. The dirt in a courtyard that leads to Iris's family's tiny flat or the luxurious extravagance of a modern kitchen, spill their own beans. Yet, the screenplay promises to be memorable. The scenes although lacking humour and colour are slightly enigamtic in approach. It is far easier to remember the small cast of startling unpolished characters - stony-hearted and selfish as they may be in their terrifying habits - over the course of time than to forget them.
In this working-class story, possibly reminiscent of many families but with a grotesque difference, shown only towards the end. Kati Outinen plays a sullen factory-girl called Iris, who plods faithfully at a dead-end job, in a match production line. Iris appears the sad, classic loner with no personality and no friends. This appears evident when once in the film, Iris tries to engage a colleague in conversation as they sit smoking together, during an interval. The dialogue is important to Iris who drops a personal secret. The listener, a pretty girl, replies in a decidedly bored tone and immediately proceeds to get up and walk away. Iris is left, staring into the distance. Throughout the film, Irish wears her familiar deadpan expression that may lighten up only at the sight of a man asking her to dance or the idea of being caught in the rose-scented garden of romance.
But no Mills n Boons starry-eyed tale, comes to meet her. It is not easy to get any man to ask the plain Iris to dance...not even at the local club, where she sits alone nervously, waiting with a soft drink in her hand. In cafes too, in the few scenes that allow for this, Iris seeks solace from her beers, while in solitary mood. In the background, is music from the 50s, a lively contrast to the flavour of the sober film. The men that approach her are interested only in a host of sexual escapades. Things aren't good at home either...but my favourite scenes really were the splendid way in which Kaurismäki played out Iris's dull parents.
They are the champion couch potatoes, creating an impression of being addle-brained and constantly glued to the television. The father has long quarreled with a son who lives away and the mother - although seemingly pretty in her time - looks exhausted and sluggish. They have no real relationship with their daughter and each day follows the same weary routine. The only time the parents appear to come to life is when they demand Iris's wages and expect her to cook and clean. The mother makes an effort now and then, to offer Iris some warmth and affection when she spots her daughter's inner sadness. Yet, the prudish parent is also the catalyst for Iris's hardships later on when she believes that Iris may have caused a scandal in the family. It is the mother's decision and father's uncaring arrogance that provokes Iris to a terrible revenge later on.
From the rude man that Iris falls in love with to her hostile parents, there is never any consideration or kind conscience at Iris's true feelings or wounded heartbreak. Humiliation is necessary when it has to be. No one thinks twice about stepping over Iris's toes with the exception of a kinder brother who appears briefly while halfway through scenes, to counsel and help.
Yet, there appears a superb decorum followed towards the end. Kaurismäki is extremely careful in keeping Iris's ruthless and vindictive actions low-key, in keeping true to the tone of the film. That even something horrifying could appear as nothing more than a tidy, everyday scene.