Friday, September 14, 2012

3Simoa / Simo Times Three

3 Simoa / Simo gånger 3. FI © 2012 It's Alive! Productions. P: Teemu Nikki, Jani Pösö, D: Teemu Nikki. SC: Teemu Nikki, Jani Pösö. DP: Jyrki Arnikari - digital post-production: Generator Post - DCP: Miikel Mäemees. PD+cost: Maria Ylätupa. Makeup: Kati Koskela. M: Janne Huttunen. S: Tuomas Seppänen, Timo Anttila. ED: Teemu Nikki.
    C: Rami Rusinen (Lasse, locksmith and burglar), Olli Rahkonen (Simo, burglar with rules), Paula Vesala (Eeva, single mother), Pekka Strang (Anders, the watchman), Matti Onnismaa (Rimpi, crime boss), Paavo Pyykkönen (Jaska, Rimpi's mute enforcer), Annika Aapalahti (Katja the concierge), Antti Reini (Pasi, Vieno's son, still not grown up), Ritva Vepsä [II: in her sole movie role - she is not the Ritva Vepsä with a substantial movie career] (old lady Vieno, still with an appetite for the male touch), Jouko Puolanto (Pesonen, Mimmi's lusty dad), Aksa Korttila (Mimmi Pampula, who has her uses for her uncle's vacant apartment), Hessu Rantanen (Markku Virtanen the television licence inspector), Jani Pösö (Synkkä, a thief recently released from jail), Iivari Salo (Simo the baby).
    90 min. Distributed by PEK (Pirkanmaan Elokuvakeskus) with Swedish subtitles by Saliven Gustavson. 2K DCP viewed at Tennispalatsi 6, Helsinki (day of premiere), 14 September 2012.

From the production information: "Eeva has had a one night stand with Simo on a night so soaking wet that Eeva does not even remember the man's face - only his name which she has given to the son that was born as a consequence of that encounter. The real Simo invents a devious plot in which Lasse gets to play Simo the father of the baby. During one day Simo and Lasse struggle both in the depth and on the surface of the mire of pretexts. They run away, start a family, try to cope with their debts and save a life. In the end all would be well, but Lasse has started to play dad all too seriously."

"One does not want to be Simo, another pretends to be Simo, and a third one does not realize he's Simo yet." A comedy about two burglars, Lasse and Simo, heavily indebted to a crime boss. Simo has lied to Lasse about a lucrative pizza restaurant project in Thailand for which he has ostensibly been investing.

There are original ideas in this comedy about the small-time criminals Lasse and Simo. Their burglary routines are examined in some detail, but the business does not seem to be lucrative. They break into a vacationer's apartment that seems to be a full-time love nest for the vacationer's relatives. After various misadventures they even break into the apartment of the crime boss himself to whom they are supposed to be covering their debts.

"Zero responsibility" is the catchword, and one of the results is the baby Simo whose mother the father Simo wants to contact solely to rob her of her gold bracelet. Yet Simo the baby has been a lucky strike for her single mother Eeva who has grown up to the responsibility and given up her alcoholism. She even possesses an alcometer and nobody is allowed to enter her home without a test. Like in Chaplin's The Kid a scoundrel is transformed against his every intention by the instinct of responsibility awakened by the baby.

A main source of comedy is the deepening web of lies into which Simo and Lasse get caught. Movies I was thinking about were Shadow of a Doubt and Lost Weekend (the anxiety and the comedy of never being able to tell the truth). Finally Lasse gives up: "I'm fed up of always having to run away". Simo: "I love to run".

Funny single jokes: "Only national romanticism, no postmodernism" as the motto of Simo and Lasse as burglars of paintings (a reference to the art programme of the True Finns, itself a fake, as confessed by Timo Soini after the elections). "I hope your pizza is better than your poem", says Eeva to Lasse who is an ardent pizza lover and a well-meaning amateur as a creator of poems.

Beyond the light entertainment touch there are serious issues, a deeper text about broken families, the family curse of many of the protagonists.

There are promising comedy elements in the movie. It has been directed with a relaxed tempo, not in a strict comedy tempo - not building up punchlines and comic climaxes. Certain situations could have been written for a Laurel and Hardy movie, but here there is no comedy build-up and no aspiration for perfect timing like in a Laurel and Hardy film or a sitcom episode.

The visual quality is that of the current transitional resolution of 2K or less, with a lot of handheld camerawork.

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