Friday, March 30, 2012

Vares - uhkapelimerkki / [Vares - the Chip of the Gambler]

Vares - vågspelsmarken. FI 2012 © 2011 Solar Films Inc. Oy. P: Jukka Helle, Markus Selin. D: Lauri Törhönen. SC: Mika Karttunen - based on the novel (2007) by Reijo Mäki. DP: Jari Mutikainen. Cost: Janne Karjalainen. Makeup: Hannele Herttua. M: Samuli Laiho, DJ Slow. "Ei aina käy niin kuin haaveillaan" ("You Only Live Twice") sung by Carola. S: Panu Riikonen. ED: Kimmo Kohtamäki. Loc: Turku (including the bars Uusi Apteekki and Esposito; Ruissalo: bird-watching tower; Turku Central Square; the Swan of Finland museum ship). C: Antti Reini (Jussi Vares), Minna Haapkylä (Sole Sulavesi), Maria Järvenhelmi (Anna Huttunen), Ilkka Heiskanen (Inspector Hautavainio), Jasper Pääkkönen (Kyypakkaus ["Viper Antidote"]), Eppu Salminen (Juhani Luusalmi), Matti Onnismaa (Pastor Alanen), Mikko Leppilampi (reporter Ruuhio), Risto Kaskilahti (Timo Petterson), Sari Puumalainen (Suski Petterson), Jouko Puolanto (von Knorr), Kaarina Hazard (Selma Natunen), Jarkko Tamminen (Topi Penkki), Jevgeni Haukka (Stahanov), Tommi Eronen (Keronimo), Kristo Salminen (Erkki Sariola), Tuula Amberla (Maria Rodriques), Maarit Peltomaa (Irene), Teijo Eloranta (Pettinen). 95 min. Released by Nordisk Film. No Swedish subtitles in the screening I visited. 2K DCP viewed at Tennispalatsi 12, Helsinki, 30 March 2012.

An entertainment film, the seventh movie about the investigations of the Turku-based private detective Jussi Vares. The previous one was perhaps the weakest in the series because the caricatures were so heavy that the viewer started to feel indifferent about the characters. This entry has more gravity and may be the best of the Vares adventures.

For a change, Vares falls seriously in love, and the object of her affections is a deeply depressed woman, Sole Sulavesi (Minna Haapkylä), who has not been able to sustain a long-term relationship and who leaves Vares, too. Soon she is found dead, hanging from her neck at the Ruissalo bird-watching tower, a favourite tryst of hers. I like the seriousness of the performances in the account of this relationship. There is a surprise solution to the mystery of Sole's death.

There is a sense of caricature in the storyline of a big financial fraud that attracts the attention of the economic crime department of the National Bureau of Investigation. Even a Russian hitman is involved in this second parallel storyline. In terms of realism I find this part of the movie impossible to believe. Physical violence is avoided in the economic crime scene of the Western world. Even professional robbers avoid violence. (In a comical dialogue with small-time crooks the concept "a bank job" has a topical double meaning, connecting ordinary robbers and fraud in big finance.) In its unrealistic mode Sole's financier brother's caricatured garden party (its pervasive sense of greed, self-interest, exploitation and lovelessness) is memorable. Its mood is a partial explanation to Sole's depression, alienation and rootlessness. There is also a third storyline about jealousy. Sole's brother Timo (Risto Kaskilahti) seems like a decent guy but he is deeply jealous and hurt when his voluptuous wife Suski (Sari Puumalainen) sleeps with the macho banker von Knorr.

In the 2K presentation the close-ups, the medium shots and the interiors look good but the digital limitations are evident in nature footage and aerial shots.

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