A rich humanist tale that gives the aura of archetypal depressing Scandinavian movie. The stoical exterior though is only a tool to showcase Kaurismaki's unique brand of humor mixing poverty, love and American rock n roll together. Proving that hope and the small ridiculous joys in life are invoked no matter how depressing a situation may appear to be.
such a delight, from the humour to the Finnish indie rock to the way dialogue is shot through with smarmy non-sequiturs. what it understands (no different from Kafka, but less obsessed with despair) is that identity is groundless. nothing, be it a name, a trait, a desire, is ever 'true' or even consistent. it's an optimistic film, though--it wants to say that our empty subjectivity doesn't preclude happiness.
One of the film's theses seems to be that identity not only is a tool used by others (like states and banks) to control us, but we never really own it to begin with. Our identity is constructed for us and without the official version of it, no one knows what to do with us.
A strange cat of a film. I didn't dislike it so much as while I finished it I still didn't know what to make of it. A strange meander of a film with many nice moments but overall I didn't really find too much to really cling to. And what a plug for the Salvation Army.
At this point Kaurismäki has already really found his style. The camera work is awesome. Story is told with simple shots and with simple dialog. The acting isn't stiff, it's pensive. The characters say only what they want to say but nothing more, yet they'd have more to say if someone would just ask. And yes, it is very stereotypical Finnish, but don't be fooled. Finns are becoming more talkative as time passes by.
A small movie about small people with (intentionally) stiff acting, some subtile silente black humor and a plain and stiff love story... that doesn't really make it above the avarage. Don't get me wrong - still watchable.