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Antti Alanen: Film Diary:

Armomurhaaja / Euthanizer

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Euthanizer (Swedish title in Finland). FI © 2017 It's Alive Films Oy. P: Teemu Nikki, Jani Pösö. D+SC: Teemu Nikki. CIN: Sari Aaltonen. AD+Cost: Sari Aaltonen, Teemu Nikki. M: Timo Kaukolampi, Tuomo Puranen. "Sua lemmin kuin järjetön mä oisin" / "(I Love You) for Sentimental Reasons" (comp. William Best, lyr. William Best or Ivory Watson, 1945, Finnish lyr. Olavi Virta, 1947) perf. Olavi Virta (1947). S: Sami Kiiski. ED: Teemu Nikki.     C: Matti Onnismaa (Veijo), Jari Virman (Petri), Hannamaija Nikander (Lotta), Heikki Nousiainen (Martti), Pihla Penttinen (Ojala), Jouko Puolanto (Vatanen), Santtu Karvonen (fisherman), Alina Tomnikov (Elisa), Ilari Johansson (Simo), Rami Rusinen (Tuomas), Olli Rahkonen (Antti), Juha Lehti (Elisa's father), Anssi Niemi (Temppu), Joel Hirvonen (Jomppe), Petri Puttonen (doctor), Petri Tiihonen (motorist), Jyry Koistinen (child 1), Erin Hedberg (child 2).     Released by Scanbox Entertainment Finland Oy / Finnkino Oy. English subtitles: Liina Härkönen. Swedish subtitles: Ditte Kronström. DCP. Day of premiere: 24 Nov 2017. 84 min     Viewed at Tennispalatsi 6, 30 Nov 2017 Steve Gravestock (Toronto International Film Festival, 2017): " The carefully balanced (albeit deranged) life of a freelance, black-market pet euthanizer begins to come apart at the seams in this loopy exploitation-movie throwback from Finland, which evokes the brazen psychological insights and aesthetic brio of such grungy genre classics as Monte Hellman’s Cockfighter and Larry Cohen’s God Told Me To." "Anyone raised on the exploitation movies of Roger Corman or Larry Cohen will respond immediately and affectionately to the polished grunge of The Euthanizer. Even the uninitiated will find themselves charmed by Teemu Nikki's disturbing and hilarious third feature." "Veijo, played by Finnish character actor Matti Onnismaa in his first starring role, runs a black-market operation euthanizing people's ailing — and sometimes just unwanted — pets. It's not a wealthy region, and the local veterinarian charges far more than most can afford. Each commission also comes with a brutal lecture, as Veijo spills over with Old Testament–style indignation about what shoddy and appalling people his patrons are." "From the outset, it's clear that our hero has dark secrets, but it's only when he meets a young nurse (who tends to his catatonic father) and a seedy garage mechanic (who's mixed up with a vicious gang of neo-Nazis) that Veijo's carefully balanced, albeit deranged, life begins to show cracks." "What crawls out when things really start to fall apart would, to paraphrase Bill Lee, make an ambulance attendant puke. Propelled by vibrant, B-movie enthusiasm, The Euthanizer offers the brazen psychological insights and aesthetic brio of classic exploitation movies like Cockfighter or God Told Me To. " Steve Gravestock (Toronto International Film Festival, 2017, Scandinavian Horror, Mystery + Thriller) " Teemu Nikki was born in Sysmä, Finland. He has directed numerous shorts, music videos, and commercials, and made his feature debut with Simo Times Three (2012), followed up by Lovemilla (2015), based on the popular Finnish TV dramedy of the same name. The Euthanizer (2017) is his latest film. " (TIFF) AA: Teemu Nikki is at his best in The Euthanizer, a genuinely original movie. The little story of a local freelancing pet euthanizer grows into many directions with many kinds of resonances. The most important of which is: the way we treat animals is a revelation to who we are. This is actually one of the oldest insights in the history of fiction film. D. W. Griffith established a cliché by showing at the start of his films the good guy petting a dog and the villain kicking a dog. Erich von Stroheim parodied him at the start of The Merry Widow by showing the villain getting mad at pigs and the good guy being amused by them. Last Sunday we screened Teuvo Puro's Anna-Liisa where people are constantly interacting with animals like it used to be over millennia before our still very recent urbanization. The Euthanizer is a saga of our estrangement from nature, and paradoxically, the euthanizer is the greatest animal-lover of all. He ends the suffering of the animals as quickly and painlessly as possible. Very often Veijo, as the euthanizer is called, gives a sermon or lecture to his customers before performing his service. These sermons are very tough stuff, indeed. I am not an expert and would be interested to know whether all the facts given about cats for instance are correct. The Euthanizer is Teemu Nikki's third theatrical feature film. About 18 years ago I learned to know him as one of the most prominent music video directors of Finland. I have not yet seen Lovemilla (2015) but found Nikki's debut feature film Simo Times Three (2012) interesting. Also Nikki's short fiction such as Fantasy (2016: the story of Pizza Fantasy) has been of high quality. Some of Nikki's recurrent themes re-emerge in The Euthanizer. Petri (Jari Virman) is a thief whose web of lies at his job, at his home, and among his neo-Nazi friends grows into an impossible mess from which he cannot escape. In Simo Times Three there were two scoundrels who were finally quite exhausted by having to carry the burden of the growing thicket of lies. In Simo Times Three the burglars had slogans similar to True Finns when they stole paintings: "only national romanticism, no postmodernism", they quipped. Now this theme has grown more sinister, and the guys are violent and racist extremists. Teemu Nikki has a fine bite and a high intensity in his story-telling. His film is constantly surprising with fresh insights and observations. Nikki is a good action director. My main disappointment is the conclusion. The mystery of the euthanizer is a horrible childhood trauma which he cannot overcome. In the finale there is an extreme turn to the theme of retribution. This is of course the received tradition in action movies. I would have expected a more original conclusion to an original story. Teemu Nikki is very good in portraying a guy hopelessly entangled in lies. That angle would have provided interesting alternatives to a genuinely startling ending to this memorable tale. Matti Onnismaa is a trusted actor in the Finnish theatre, television and cinema. The IMDb lists 151 film and television credits for him; internationally he is best known for Aki Kaurismäki roles. In his first leading role in a theatrical feature he provides great presence and rock solid authenticity. This is acting with little nuances and an absolute sense of timing. The surface is hard as a rock, but the sensitivity is always evident. In this competently shot film the visual quality is not of the highest definition. But this is a character-driven, not a visually driven film, and the characters are compelling.

Avainsanat: william whose who web wealthy watson w visual virta video veijo tuomo trauma tradition timo throwback third they theatre teuvo televisio teemu tale subtitles steve some simo show shot service sense scandinavia sari sami saga role roger rock released rami quality possible popular played pizza pihla petri people penttinen painting oy operation olli old olavi niemi neo nazi national music movie monte mixed merry me matti market make main like liisa liina lehti lee lecture learned leading larry kiiski kaurismäki jouko johansson joel job jari jani it interested impossible imdb ilari härkönen horror history hirvonen hero heikki hedberg genre friends fresh finnkino finnish finland fine film fiction fi festival feature fantasy extreme expert escape ed each dog director directed credit commission cohen clear cinema characters cats cannot by born black anssi animals animal alive alina aki actor action aaltonen 2017 2015


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