Lapland Odyssey - A comedy about Janne, a man from Lapland in Northern Finland, a man who has made a career out of living on welfare. Inari, his girlfriend, is tired of Janne's incapability of getting a grip on life.
Lapland Odyssey (2010):
Director: Dome Karukoski
Writer: Pekko Pesonen
Stars: Pamela Tola, Jussi Vatanen, Jasper Pääkkönen
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Runtime: 1h 32min
Country: Finland, Ireland, Sweden
Language: Finnish, English, Swedish, Russian
Release Date: 12 January 2012 (Germany)
Also Known As: Helden des Polarkreises, Napapiirin sankarit
Filming Locations: Kolari, Finland
A comedy about Janne, a man from Lapland in Northern Finland, a man who has made a career out of living on welfare. Inari, his girlfriend, is tired of Janne's incapability of getting a grip on life. Janne wasn't even able to buy a digital TV box that Inari had given money for. Inari gives an ultimatum: a digital box needs to arrive by dawn or she leaves. Janne sets out into the night with his two friends to find a box. On their way to the city of Rovaniemi, Janne and his friends face many challenges, obstacles and temptations. They learn that they need to be daring. There's no room to give into bitterness. The most important thing isn't success, but rather the journey in itself.
One of Dome Karukoski's earlier films and certainly one of his funniest, Lapland Odyssey is essentially a catastrophe road-trip movie. A deadbeat man living in the months long night of Lapland gets an ultimatum from his wife. Either he gets her the digital television adapter he has been promising her for ages, or they're through. And he only has until the morning to do so. The only problem? It's already late evening, he has no car and the nearest all-night electronics store is hundreds of kilometers away.
From that basic setting we end up getting one of the funniest Finnish films I've ever seen. And I think the reason why I found this to be so funny, when Finnish film humour usually does nothing for me, is the fact that the characters take it so seriously. For the man and his two equally deadbeat friends this is truly an odyssey. They're on a quest to save to man's marriage and they will go to extreme lengths to achieve their goal. No winking at the camera, no forced jokes, no pop culture or modern events references. Just great characters and them getting into trouble.
The film is also beautifully shot, well-acted and features some stunning shots of winter Lapland. If I had to name one problem, I'd say that the Finnish stereotypes can be a bit forced from time to time. Oftentimes they're the best source of humour in the film, but from time to time they wander into groan territory. Still, a very minor problem in the grand scheme of things.
Lapland Odyssey is certainly worth a watch for all fans of comedy and for all those that have liked one of Karukoski's other films. Written by Vartiainen.
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