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  Heavy Trip None More Metal
Year: 2018
Director: Juuso Laatio, Jukka Vidgren
Stars: Johannes Holopainen, Samuli Jaskio, Antti Heikkinen, Max Ovaska, Minka Kuustonen, Ville Tiihonen, Kai Lehtinen, Chike Ohanwe, Pirjo Lonka, Martti Syrjä, Sinikka Mokkila, Pertti Sveholm, Rune Temte, Joel Hirvonen, Anssi Niemi, Ville Hilska
Genre: Comedy, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Turo (Johannes Holopainen) works in an old folks' home, cleaning up after the residents, and indeed cleaning up the residents, but this is not where his heart lies. For more than a decade now, he has been the frontman of a heavy metal band, but that's not as impressive as it sounds, for in all that time they have never plucked up the courage to play a concert, preferring to stay in the basement of the guitarist's parents' house and rehearse instead. Turo, despite his big, growling singing style, is a quiet and retiring sort, and they don't have much material of their own they have any faith in, but the years are going by and they have made no progress from their tiny Finnish village home...

What is it about Scandinavians and heavy metal, be that death metal, black metal, symphonic metal or countless other flavours of metal? It seems to attract something in the Northern European soul, but while there are about a million albums as a result, film representation has been thinner on the ground. Heavy Trip, or Hevi reissu in its original language, was a rare beast, a comedy on the subject doubling as a sincere tribute to the genre, with plenty of in-jokes for the fans, but enough of a grasp of what made these men funny to succeed for mere dabblers in the form, or even agnostics as to the benefits of Finnish metal. In short, you need not be a diehard to get big laughs watching this.

It was the brainchild of writers and directors Juuso Laatio and Jukka Vidgren, whose previous effort had been a near-half hour spoof which did not exactly set the world alight. This was a different kettle of fish, on the other hand, as though it remained a cult proposition in the main almost everyone who witnessed it came away with a benevolence to the plight of the characters and were cheered when they overcame some towering odds by the end, well, just about anyway. It did grow funnier as it went along, and certainly more outlandish, the directors' love of The Blues Brothers not extending to a representation of soul tunes, but the basic outline was present in the plot.

This could have constituted a spoiler of sorts, as it did follow the various highs and lows of the Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi favourite a shade too slavishly, but redeeming it in the eyes of many who caught it who were metalheads was the simple way the jokes were not the same, thereby serving up a dish that seemed fresh rather than 1980's reheated leftovers. Also added was a sweet romantic angle, for Turo would dearly wish to be able to ask out his old schoolfriend Miia (Minka Kuustonen) who now runs the local florist's and whose policeman father makes no secret of hating him. Not helping is the village celebrity, singer and used car salesman Jouni (Ville Tiihonen) has his sights set in her and bats away Turo like a mildly troublesome insect. But they are not the only ones who severely dent his self-esteem.

The film made it clear that the metal band, who have not settled on a name for twelve years, were basically outcasts, and none more so than Turo, but that was okay - no matter how many villagers shout "homo!" at him because of his long hair, metal will always be there to soothe his jangled nerves and supply him with the outlet he needs to let that hair down and just yell at the world which makes no attempt to get to know him, preferring to ridicule him to boost their own not exactly impressive social standing. But then, in a farce of blood from the reindeer slaughterhouse, a promoter is slipped their demo tape, creating a newfound respect from the townsfolk who are hypocritically easily pleased with a whiff of renown, and things might be looking up for Turo and his pals. But then they take another downturn until he consciously decides to seize the moment and a road trip to a festival that has no room for them ensues, events getting very silly in the process - yet undeniably metal. While fans might have preferred more music, there was a lot weirdly charming about watching these misfits, you may balk at calling it feelgood when, for instance, the band settle on Impaled Rektum as a moniker, but that's what it was. Music by Lauri Porra.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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