An episode in the life of Nikander, a garbage man, involving the death of a coworker, a love affair and much more.An episode in the life of Nikander, a garbage man, involving the death of a coworker, a love affair and much more.An episode in the life of Nikander, a garbage man, involving the death of a coworker, a love affair and much more.
Fittingly, Pellonpää and Outinen are the leading couple of shadows in Paradise. He reprises the role of Nikander he previously played in Crime and Punishment, with more English lessons (which originate his best line, at the end of the film) and trouble at work: his plans to start his own business get buried with his associate (Esko Nikkari), who commits suicide five minutes into the movie. While looking for a new job, he meets Ilona (Outinen), who works as a cashier in a Helsinki supermarket. The two start hanging out, eventually forming a sweet, if platonic, bond, occasionally threatened by Nikander's apparent cynicism.
The film's magic resides entirely in its minimalism: little dialogue, sober settings, raw, Finnish humor, real, likable characters and no overacting, as Kaurismäki tells his simple, universal, incredibly touching love story. Pellonpää and Outinen's understated, affecting performances complete each other, with valuable support from Sakari Kuosmanen as Melartin, Nikander's best friend, who even steals from his own daughter to finance his buddy's dates. Not that his behavior is exemplary, but it shows how much these people care for each other, and that's where Kaurismäki succeeds: he makes us emphasize with these characters despite their many flaws, and delivers an astounding, memorable picture.
A true masterpiece of Finnish film-making, from the best director that country has ever spawned.
- Sep 22, 2006