Film Reviews:

The Man Without A Past/Mies vailla menneisyyttä

(Aki Kaurismäki, Finland, 2002)

NOT The Invisible Man Internationally renowned Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki's latest is a typically quirky tale that although has moments that recall David Lynch's deliberately stilted dialogue and pregnant pauses is an otherwise conventional story simply told in an engaging way. The plot concerns a middle-aged Finnish welder who, after being attacked and beaten unconscious by hoodlums, looses his memory and forgets his past. He makes a new life for himself with the down and outs living in abandoned shipping containers at the harbourside, falling in love with one of the Salvation Army women who feeds him soup. As the man's amnesia gradually fades and his previous life slowly comes back into focus he is forced to choose between two very different lifestyles.

Athough full of emotion, excellent performances and a handful of laugh-out-loud sequences (as seen in a brilliant lawyer vs policeman legal argument scene), this is ultimately slight, lightweight (despite its themes) and little more than a diverting ninety minutes. Strolling around in a red shirt, black tie and slicked down dark hair, Markku Peltola looks like he has wandered off the cover of Kraftwerk's The Man Machine album. The striking European poster's minimalist, retro design promises more The Invisible Man than the forgetful man.

Rob Dyer

See also:

Other Aki Kaurismäki films

A-Z of Film Reviews