March 04, 2014

Concrete Night (2013)

Concrete Night (2013) - Movie Review
Directed by: Pirjo Honkasalo
Country: Finland / others

Movie Review: Ultimately dedicated to documentaries, Finnish helmer Pirjo Honkasalo returns to fictional drama with the stylish “Concrete Night”, 15 years after “Fire-Eater”. Based on the novel of the same name by Pirkko Saisio, the plot was effectively composed in the grey atmosphere of Helsinki, where 14-year-old Simo (Johannes Brotherus) lives with his unconcerned mother (Anneli Karppinen) and older brother Ilkka (Jari Virman), who is about to go to prison due to drug dealing. Simo shows a great admiration for his harsh, pessimistic, and lost brother, being negatively influenced by everything he does or says. The film, magnificently photographed in black-and-white, is loaded with dreamlike tones and enhances the alienation where its characters are sunk. The opening scene that shows Simo’s nightmare, getting trapped underwater, starts to make sense as the film approaches its end. It was a product of the negativism and disillusion of his brother’s theories, which were based on become free of hope, not expecting tomorrow, and devalue the human being’s existence. The predestinated arrival of a homosexual neighbor, who was living abroad, seemed to have been the last straw to make Simo explode from all the restrained anger and disenchantment of his young life. Despite philosophical allusions to love, fear, and future, the story is very simple and definitely casted some spell on me, with its mirrors, glasses, water, and creative details. It belongs to those ones dark, poetic, and beautiful…

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