[critical] Very Cold Trip

Life is beautiful for Janne, a young thirty-year-old Finnish… He does nothing on his days. His girlfriend Inari can’t take it anymore and sets him an ultimatum : either he finds a tv decoder before dawn – she is claiming since a long time – she leaves. Janne has no choice : he starts out with his two best friends on the snowy roads of Lapland ; the roads planted surprises and ambushes where his laziness is legendary will not be a great help.

Author’s Note


Release Date : February 9, 2011

Directed by Dome Karukoski

Movie Finnish

With Jussi Vatanen, Jasper Pääkkönen, Timo Lavikainen, Pamela Tola, Kari Ketonen, Mia Nuutila, Moa Gammel

Duration : 1h35min

Original title : Lapland Odyssey

Trailer :

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Mine of nothing, we don’t often hear about Finland. The general policy is rather the discretion, and in the field of culture, the export does not seem to be a top priority. We know that the Norwegians have thousands of metal bands, and that the Swedes have pretty girls and Stieg Larsson, but what have the Finns ? Of the snow ? The Moomins ? There are Aki Kaurismaki, who has a small place in the history of cinema, but the Leningrad Cowboys starts to date, and it is still quite far away from the notoriety of bombs like Morse or the trilogy Millenium. Of course, there are a few months, we have seen around here and there a few posters for the Divorce Was The Finnish of Mika Kaurismaki, but before a critical medium, and a public that is unenthusiastic, they are divided as they had arrived : in the general indifference.

In the beginning of 2011, the cover is provided with a comedy on the title subtly eye-catching and providentially familiar : Very Cold Trip. The story of a guy, Janne, threatened to break with his girlfriend if it does not find a decoder before the rising of the day. The film is based on a principle of a road movie, ultra basic, that is to say, a silly sequence of events along a route. Obviously, it’s a little lighter construction and you quickly have the feeling that the screenwriter would have been able to add or remove, without that the basic structure of the plot is altered. But hey, we’re in a comedy, so it is better not to be looking on the quality of the writing, leaves to be more about the quality of the humor.

As the films came from Finland do not run the streets, those who come to us are a source of curiosity, and some hope for freshness : one is expected to the exotic, to the shift. In any case something different from what one finds in France or in the United States, anything that was out of the ordinary that would blow our conventions. A blow into the water : despite a very good opening sequence, the black humour is rather agreed upon, the dialogues are not especially well cut, the offset, lack of boldness… there is Nothing that has not already seen elsewhere dozens of times.

But there is even worse : by checkmating Very Cold Trip, we are convinced that the problem of the comedy is international. It is clear that, regardless of their nationality, the filmmakers can’t help but shove roughly their films of good feelings, a hint of human drama, a beautiful romantic story for couples of all countries, sitting side by side on the love seats of a MK2, can hold their fingers in exchanging a knowing look that will shine in the darkness of a dark room… when in fact, the human aspects of a comedy, it’s just boring.

And saw that Very Cold Trip is the first comedy of its director, it is full of human dramas, as if he was not yet ready to turn permanently to the page. One of the characters must manage a Oedipus ill-digested with a mother’s ultra possessive, and another is obsessed by the suicide of his father, and that is that the main character female [whoops, spoiler]… sacred cherry dump on a cake already well supplied. In the end, the only one not having a personality is the main character… a shame, but is it still a bad calculation ?

The real problem of the drama in the comedy, it is that the assay is complicated, because if ever the director has the misfortune to arouse empathy too much of the viewer to his character, he is no longer able to laugh at his misfortunes, and all the gags are screwed. This is where Karukoski is shits on it : he is unable to decide whether he sympathizes with Janne or if he fucks his mouth, and we, in the meantime he makes his choice, are bored in front of a character without relief. Because if it is around him that is supposed to shoot the film, Karukoski does not have enough time to present us to perceive the change in his psychology. In a nutshell : the treatment of the character is screwed up, since one does not perceive its evolution while being forced to see that it is the key element of the emotion that one is supposed to feel (but that never comes). While his two buddies seem to have actually advanced, it gives the impression of being remained motionless, simply because the dir was not able to take enough time to show us what he was at the base. Rookie mistake.

How, from that moment, Very Cold Trip could it work ? A comedy in the form of a road movie of initiation which makes the on-site is not likely to take his audience anywhere. Stuck at the point of death, one sees all around us a few jokes and one or two scenes that are worth it ; we laugh from time to time, we take advantage of the indisputable quality of the soundtrack and then, from the beginning of the end credits, we pull, the head is already elsewhere. This was neither a good nor a bad time to pass, just a moment of total inertia. Hope that this is not the specificity of Finnish…

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