Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kotirauha / [Trespass]

Hemfrid. FI © 2011 Solar Films Inc. Co. P: Jukka Helle, Markus Selin. D: Aleksi Mäkelä. SC: Marko Leino based on his novel (2010). DP: Pini Hellstedt - 2,35:1. AD: Pirjo Rossi. Cost: Tiina Kaukanen. Makeup: Riikka Virtanen. Special effects: Konsta Mannerheimo. Digital visual effects artists: several. M: Lauri Porra. Theme: Adagio attributed to Albinoni (actually composed by Remo Giazzotto in 1958). S: Jyrki Rahkonen. ED: Kimmo Taavila. Cast: Samuli Edelmann (Sami Luoto), Katariina Kaitue (Sari Luoto), Santeri Kinnunen (Santtu Luoto), Kerli Kyllönen (Annika Luoto), Kristo Salminen (Jere), Aake Kalliala (Reijo Luoto), Petra Frey (Kaarina), Niina Nurminen (Jutta), Aku Hirviniemi (Koistinen), Tommi Korpela (Jaatinen), Pekka Huotari (Kaskela), Taisto Oksanen (bank manager), Erkki Saarela (doctor), Asko Sarkola (lawyer), Ville Myllyrinne and Katja Küttner (clients at a real estate presentation). 100 min. Distributed by Nordisk Finland. 2K DCP without Swedish subtitles viewed at Tennispalatsi 13, Helsinki, 22 Oct 2011 (premiere weekend).

From the official synopsis: "A movie about Sami Luoto (Samuli Edelmann) a fortysomething family father with a secret dream. He wants to succeed like his father did and build for himself, his wife Sari (Katariina Kaitue) and their teenage daughter Annika (Kerli Kyllönen) a gorgeous house. To achieve this Sami, who has already experienced bankruptcy much earlier, establishes a company to build and sell houses. The financial prospects are great, and nothing can go wrong, or can it?"

"Before he knows the situation has spiralled out of control, and Sami is in the middle of a hostage drama."

"The movie is the story of one man's tailspin, a thriller-like drama which delves deep into human destinies with topical and social relevance. What is the measure of love and success? Can a man fail and start anew?" (My translation from the official synopsis.)

Of the active contemporary directors Aleksi Mäkelä is the one who has directed the domestically most successful films in Finland, while Aki Kaurismäki is the internationally most successful Finnish film director.

Since 1993, Aleksi Mäkelä has directed action films, crime films, thrillers, and a biopic on Matti Nykänen. From the beginning he has often cast Samuli Edelmann and Santeri Kinnunen in leading roles. Even Katariina Kaitue starred already in his theatrical debut film 18 years ago.

Kotirauha is an evident turning-point: a family drama conceived in turbo action mode. Crime belongs to the ingredients. Samuli Edelmann is the crooked businessman Sami, and Santeri Kinnunen plays the role of his brother, the policeman Santtu. Kristo Salminen plays Sari's stepbrother Jere, an enforcer who cannot control his violent urges.

The actors are effective, and the thriller aspects of the movie are exciting. In the beginning the movie feels amazingly bleak. Sami is caught in a web of lies which keeps getting more and more desperate. In all his encounters (with the real estate dealer, at the bank, in the sales presentation of a house - and at his own home) he seems to be lacking in elementary social and psychological skills. The lie is total, even bordering on the absurd.

There is no genuine happiness and joy in any of the family meetings. The mega-successful grandfather Reijo has a new young female companion Jutta, younger than his son's wife.

The nadir of the incredible web of lies is the crazy "presentation" of a plot to Sami's own family, after which violence explodes, an innocent worker is murdered, his children becoming orphans, and Santtu killing the reckless Jere who has shot at the policemen. The violence in this movie is more tragic and serious than in Aleksi Mäkelä's previous movies. There is nothing entertaining in it. Santtu, the policeman who has only been performing his duty, is nevertheless so shocked that he considers resigning from the police force (and seeking employment in Sami's company... !!) Remain big turns in the plot that cast the brothers' parents' situation in a new light.

During the last decade the most dominant and typical female leading character in a Finnish movie has been the harridan, and in Kotirauha Katariina Kaitue brings forth her own variation of it. (Qf. Juoksuhaudantie, Miehen työ, Valkoinen kaupunki, etc.). Divorce is imminent and richly deserved, but the restoration of the family is wanted, although I don't understand why. The family seems to make everybody unhappy.

Kotirauha is an action film that reflects currents in the contemporary economic situation. It offers an alarming view of the breakdown of the social contract.

There is a grayish digital look in the transitional 2K imagery, often fitting to the grim subject. Even nature looks slightly denatured, offering little contrast to the bleak urban world.

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