25 November 2006 | Nattfodd
A disappointing adaptation
I saw this movie at a pre-screening in a Paris festival. I have read the Arto Paasilinna book a couple of years ago, and as all Paasilinna books, I loved it. It is the tale of a man who suddenly realizes that he doesn't like the way he lives his life. After accidentally hitting a hare, he decides to leave everything and goes all the way up north (of Finland in the book, Canada in the movie), accompanied by the now tamed hare. Together, they live a lot of adventures, mainly in the nature, and end up "saving each other".
I have to say that I was very disappointed by the movie. Of course, a cinematographic adaptation of a book always changes many things, but here, I don't think that the "spirit" itself was preserved. The movie is mainly centered about the Vatanen character and his family problems, but each time he solves one of his problems, the spectator gets the impression of discovering the problem at that very moment. There are also many times where Vatanen does not act in any way that one could understand, let alone predict. While this can be fine in itself (and is actually a simple translation of some events of the book), it would at the very least deserve some explanation, which is never given.
Another big reproach is that the actors are just *awful*. Christophe Lambert confirms that he really can't act and one does never believe in his character. Unfortunately, he and the hare are always on screen and there are not so many other characters (which is totally logic since it is the story of a man who finds himself, almost alone in the nature). The direction is sometimes disappointing as well, but is mainly decent, even if it totally lacks the genius that would have been required for a Paasilinna adaptation.
On the bright side, the hare which we see non-stop, is really making the movie all alone! It is really cute, has a lot of expressions and is accountable for almost all funny moments. I would even dare say that children will enjoy the movie for that reason only. The landscapes are also beautiful, be it in autumn or winter, and eventually, the music, composed by Goran Bregovic, is really great.
Overall, a decent movie if you forget about the fact that it's an adaptation of one of Arto Paasilinna's greatest book.