Friday, October 19, 2012

Vares - pimeyden tango / [The Waltz of Darkness]

Mörkrets tango. FI 2012 © 2011 Solar Films. P: Jukka Helle, Markus Selin. D: Lauri Törhönen. SC: Mika Karttunen - based on the novel (1997) by Reijo Mäki. DP: Jari Mutikainen - Camera: 2 x Red MX 4K - lenses: Master Primes Set and Angenieux Optimo Zoom 24-290mm - definition: 4K - post-production: Post Control Oy - colour definition: Marko Terävä at 2K DPX (information from Jari Mutikainen, 5 November 2012). Finnlab - 3-D Trix Finland Oy. Cost: Janne Karjalainen. M: Samuli Laiho, DJ Slow. Song list: see beyond the jump break. S: Tuomas Klaavo, Mikko Mäkelä. ED: Kimmo Kohtamäki. C: Antti Reini (Jussi Vares), Jani Muurinen (tango king Harry Koivikko), Mikko Leppilampi (reporter Ruuhio), Jussi Lampi (Veikko Hopea, escaped convict out to get Vares), Ilkka Heiskanen (inspector Hautavainio, on a long sick leave), Maria Järvenhelmi (Anna Huttunen, taxi driver, dating Ruuhio, making Vares jealous), Antti Virmavirta (the deranged engineer Vehmanen, who gives Vares the assignment to tail his wife), Sari Havas (Kaarina Vehmanen), Anna-Leena Härkönen (Olga, Veikko Hopea's Russian "hairdresser"), Ria Kataja (Anette Tala, music manager), Ville Tiihonen (Hessu Talvio), Andrei Alén (Micke Pinola, pop singer), Lola Wallinkoski (Donna, pop singer, dating Vares), Matti Onnismaa (Pastori Alanen), Eppu Salminen (Juhani Luusalmi), Jasper Pääkkönen (Kyypakkaus), Antti Raiski (Aaro Vartio), Jorma Sairanen (Risto Rautakorpi). Loc: Turku (Pub Uusi Apteekki, Hamburger Börs, Puutorin Vessa). 91 min. Released by Nordisk Film with Swedish subtitles by Joanna Erkkilä. 2K DCP viewed at Tennispalatsi 7, Helsinki, 19 Oct 2012.

The previews included those for Django Unchained (Tarantino) and the new James Bond movie Skyfall, both catchy.

The eighth Vares movie, the sixth starring Antti Reini, has received the predictable lukewarm or negative reviews.

The milieu of this movie is that of Finnish pop music, "where everyone knows each other". The world of the dance pavilions, full of dreams of happiness, is a major background. The main crime scene is Hotel Satumaa (The Land of Fairy-Tales) referring to a Finnish tango evergeen about the better world beyond this one. We also get to visit a gold record gala event. The tango king has been murdered six years ago, the crime is still unsolved, and the main cop, inspector Hautavainio, is on a long sick leave due to an ulcer and a weakened heart. The reporter Ruuhio now declares that he has found decisive information, but he vanishes suddenly, and Vares finds his room all messed up.

A ruthless hitman, Veikko Hopea, is set free for a vacation from the Helsinki prison (not far from our KAVA office in Sörnäinen), and at once he starts a murderous rampage in Turku, also targeting Vares. He is given a Russian escort, "Olga from Chernobyl".

Vares is working on a less than lucrative assignment, tailing the wife (Sari Havas) of the deranged engineer Vehmanen. There is nothing to report except that the wife loves to dance and wants to make her husband jealous. When Vehmanen hints at a good compensation for Vares for a final solution to the marital trouble it's the end of the assignment, and Vares reports Vehmanen to the police.

There is a good satirical edge in Lola Wallinkoski's performance as Donna the ironical pop singer who confesses that 99% of her life is based on a written scenario. Ria Kataja plays the creepy music manager Anette Tala who is ready to pay Vares a lot of money if he leaks dirty stories about Donna to the gutter press although nothing has happened. The lonely stalker Hessu (Ville Tiihonen) is on Anette Tala's payroll for dirty work.

The conclusion of the movie is played for absurd comedy as three hitmen want to finish Vares simultaneously - "poika paloiksi ja pakettiin" ("chop him to pieces and pack him up") is the command of Anette Tala - and end up finishing each other, instead. The death of the tango king has been related to his hidden homosexuality, there has been a witness to the murder in the house on the other side of the street, and a chain of murders has ensued to suppress the truth about the killer.

The local atmosphere of Turku architecture has been interestingly used. There is an emphasis on the Turku art nouveau (Jugendstil). There is also an emphasis on the vertical dimension: moving up and down the stairs on the hills of Turku.

Although Vares is a bohemian and a tramp he has a moral code, and the movie has a strong stand about the gutter press and the assumption that everything can be bought.

The colour world is on the grey side in the beginning, but on the whole the digital look is either getting better or there is more success in avoiding the restrictions and limitations of digital cinema.
Pedro's Heavy Gentlemen
säv. Unto Mononen, sov. Jaakko Salo
Fazer Musiikki F Music 200352 (1993)
Warner / Chappell Music Finland

Antti Raiski
säv. Toivo Kärki, san. Reino Helismaa
Warner / Chappell Music Finland

Andrei Alén
säv. Antti Hammarberg, san. Veikko Salmi
Warner / Chappell Music Finland

Jani Muurinen
säv. trad, san. Matti Jäppilä
Warner / Chappell Music Finland

Lola Wallinkoski
säv./san./sov. Jussi Liski

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