Flash Movie Review: Sisu
I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT REVENGE UNTIL I was in elementary school and saw it for myself. At the time, I did not know any details, only saw the results. We had come back from recess and were going to our seats. A boy sat down at his desk and let out a yelp as he sprung back up from the seat. He was one row over and a few seats ahead of me. I looked up as everyone else did to see him move his hands over his backside. He was pulling something away from his pants, but they were too small for me to see. After he brought it up to his face to inspect it, he looked around the room and demanded to know who did this to him. None of us knew what he was talking about, so we sat there in silence, staring at him. That was not good enough for him; he said he would find out who did it and smash them into little pieces. After that statement, if someone in class had done it, there was no way they would admit it now. As he was pulling out the others that were stuck to him, the teacher walked back into the classroom. She asked him what he was doing, and he replied, “Nothing.” For the rest of the day, I could not stop thinking about what happened to him. IT WAS A FEW DAYS LATER before I found out what happened to that boy in my class. A friend of mine said he had heard the boy was picking on someone from a different class or grade; the person telling him the story was not sure. That boy decided to get back at the boy in my class; so, when we were all outside for recess, he snuck into our room and placed a few colored thumbtacks on that boy’s seat. I asked what would have happened if the boy had sat down and started to bleed (I was naïve)? After this incident, I never heard anything else about it; but I continued to be curious about the actions that took place. The sneakiness of it intrigued me since I was reading a lot of detective stories. The other thing that interested me the most was the fact that the boy who sat on the thumbtacks was a bully in my opinion; I always tried to stay clear of him. The idea that someone would willingly provoke him was a foreign concept to me. As I went from grade to grade, I soon understood the motivation; but I never had the courage to do something so blatant. And believe me, from what I experienced through my school years, there were times I wished I had courage like the main character in this action war film. TOWARDS THE END OF THE WAR, A band of retreating Nazis come upon a prospector who had just struck gold. Seeing the gold as an opportunity for them to safely get out, they felt it would be simple to take the prospector’s gold. They had no idea what they were about to start. With Jorma Tommila (Priest of Evil, Big Game) as Aatami, Aksel Hennie (The Martian, The Cloverfield Paradox) as Bruno, Jack Doolan (The Hatton Garden Job, Marcella-TV) as Wolf, Mimosa Willamo (Finders of the Lost Yacht, Deadwind-TV) as Aino and Onni Tommila (Big Game, Rare Exports) as Schute; this film festival English speaking winner from Finland was a steely intense experience. There were brutal, bloody violent scenes throughout the movie. As some of you know, I am not one for brutal violence; however, the way the story unfolded kept me glued to the big screen. The script was no-nonsense and direct, letting the action do all the talking. There was a Quentin Tarantino vibe through the whole picture, particularly because there was a splash of humor mixed into the violence. Jorma was a solid force throughout the story, despite him barely speaking a word. This was an over-the-top script that had one objective, to get revenge and it does that multiple times.
3 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: Big Game
As I made my way up the seldom used staircase to the attic I could hear the wood groaning under my feet. I rarely need to be up there where essentially it has turned into one large storage room. As I lifted the door open at the top of the stairs I began to take in air that had not moved in years. Walking through the clothes bins, one of them attracted my eye. Through its semiopaque lid I saw the outline of some animal. I opened the bin and lying on top was a sweater I used to wear years ago. It was purchased during a period of time where Nordic themed fashion was the rage. This copper colored sweater with the image of a large antlered stag across the front was something I thought was the coolest thing back then. Everyone back then was wearing sweaters with various images of animals in winter scenes splayed across their chest. If the sleeves had multicolored yarns woven partially up the sides, the sweater was extra cool. I started to remember those times where all of us appeared to have had more fun, less responsibilities and less news that horrified us like it does these days. As the sunlight falling in from the one small window at the front of the attic began to dim; I put back the sweater, found the item I was originally looking for and came downstairs. That was the last time I reveled in those type of memories of an easier carefree past until I saw this fun retro action film. AFTER surviving the crash of Air Force One in a remote area of Finland President William Alan Moore, played Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers franchise, Reasonable Doubt), had to depend on 13 year old Oskari, played by Omni Tommila (Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, Last Cowboy Standing), who was in the middle of a village ritual to being considered a man. Time would not be an abundant commodity for either of them. This adventure film was a hoot to watch with its throwback style and story. I enjoyed seeing Samuel toning it down to play a more submissive type of character than he normally portrays. The cast which included Ray Stevens (The Book of Eli, Divergent franchise) as Morris and Felicity Huffman (Transamerica, Desperate Housewives-TV) as the CIA director all looked like they enjoyed playing their characters. The story was somewhat predictable and cheesy; but I think that was what the writers were trying to do to create this picture that reminded me of those action movies from the 1980s and 90s. This was a fun no-frills film that favored a class of movies from a distant past. Several scenes had spoken Finnish with English subtitles.
2 1/2 stars
Flash Movie Review: Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
Almost every town, neighborhood and village has its own folk tales. In the neighborhood where I grew up there were 2 houses that all of us kids believed were haunted. One house was perched on the corner of my block. Painted in a dark brown color, there were curling vines that creeped up the sides of the house scarring the paint off the wood, leaving the brooding house looking wounded. The other house was a couple of blocks away from our apartment but I never ventured by its rounded gate that had spikes on the top. My friends and I knew not to stop at these houses during Halloween. In my travels I have come across an area’s legends and stories; some had a fun quirkiness to them while others were used to explain the unexplainable. In this adventure fantasy film I loved the folklore presented to set up the story. While a mysterious archaeological dig was taking place in the mountains above the village; young Pietari Kontio, played by Onni Tommila (Last Cowboy Standing) noticed several children had gone missing right before Christmas. This film festival winning movie captured my attention immediately even with it also being considered a horror film. Set in the mountains of Finland, I felt I was transported to the coldness of the town as little clues were being dropped to the viewer, leading us like a lamb to slaughter. I knew no one in the cast, such as Jorma Tommila (Priest of Evil, Sisters Apart) as Pietari’s father Rauno and Tommi Korpela (The Home of Dark Butterflies, A Man’s Job) as Aimo; but it did not matter, it only heightened my belief that I was watching the actual town folk. The story was wickedly dark and amusing at the same time; I just found it creative in a twisted sort of way. Now I have no idea whether this tale was actually based on some true folk legend, but I found it to be a brilliant method to keep the viewer guessing as the plot unfolded. It was amazing to me how the writers took basic things most of us knew or had heard of and turned them into something different with sinister overtones. If you plan on seeing this picture be prepared because there were a couple of gruesome scenes. As some of you know I am not a big fan of horror movies, but I have to tell you I had a great time watching this film. It certainly gave a new meaning to the phrase, “…who was naughty or nice.” There were a couple of scenes with blood that some may find disturbing. Finnish with English subtitles.
3 1/4 stars — DVD