films seen
average score
Alive and kicking
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They Have Escaped

He Ovat Paenneet
2014 / 102m - Finland
Drama, Thriller
They Have Escaped poster

An interesting mix of du Welz's Adoration (though this one predates it) and Les Amants Criminels. At its best, it's a really powerful and atmospheric film, it's just a little too inconsistent to be a true masterpiece. A bit more attention to the cinematography and the soundtrack could've pushed it over the edge.

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Raisa lives in a halfway house, Joni is one of her caretakers. The two get on well together and decide to move off on their own. Raisa tells Joni she has hidden a treasure somewhere, but it doesn't take long before the police are on their tails. They can't trust anyone, not even their own family.

The performances are solid, there are some powerful scenes and the road trip structure works well. Other scenes are a little underdeveloped, and the ending felt tacked on. It's a pretty big twist that comes a little too late. I wish the film wasn't quite as uneven, still, there's plenty to like here.

Dogs Don't Wear Pants

Koirat Eivät Käytä Housuja
2019 / 105m - Finland
Dogs Don't Wear Pants poster

Finnish cinema takes on BDSM. I'm not quite sure how shocking or eye-opening this film was trying to be, but despite some attempts at being a bit edgier, it's a pretty safe and proper film that leans more into its arthouse aesthetics. And for that, I didn't really find it polished enough.

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When Juha's wife dies in a swimming accident, he is completely heartbroken, but he continues on as his daughter needs him. It isn't until years later when he meets Mona, a dominatrix, that something inside his warms again. Juha's a little hesitant at first, but he can't stay away from Mona.

Some effort went into the styling, but neither the cinematography nor the score really hit the mark. It's not that they're bad, it just didn't feel quite committed or thorough enough. The plot and structure of the film are decent but somewhat predictable, and in the end, this simply wasn't as memorable as it could've been.