So far this month we have had the delights of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, the true crime gore drenching black metal of LORDS OF CHAOS and now the sardonic slap that is HEAVY TRIP or Hevi Reissu to give it the Finnish title some would know it by. Now this film has been likened to that classic of hair metal and rock satires, SPINAL TAP but in truth it is as much a respectful nod to the films of Aki Kaurismaki and especially his LENINGRAD COWBOYS GO AMERICA. It also holds a little bit of a light to the myriad road movie films of the American 90s and 00s but I am getting ahead of myself and should step back first.
Stuck in a small town in deepest darkest Finland, Turo (Johannes Holopainen) wants more out of life. He wants to be big. He wants fame, excitement and musical adventure to run through his blood. The barrier to his success is his band. Metal noise makers Impaled Rektum (yep that’s their name) are skilled but scared of live gigs. So when he has to take them to perform at the hottest metal festival of Norway, well it’s going to be a wild ride. Music, grave robbing, Viking debauchery and armed conflict are just some of the vents that they meet on the road trip between Finland and Norway.
Inevitably the English (and Hollywood) press would zoom in on the rather lazy connection between this film and another monster of comedy from the shores of America. Yes I agree that it is a worthwhile comparison but it is one that fails to understand what directors Jukka Vidgren and Juuso Laatio were trying to achieve. Now I am not totally sure they will agree with my comments but from the film I felt that
* They were trying to parody the evolution of the 90s metal scene in Scandinavia.
* They wanted to reset the idea of fame and infamy
* They wanted their fellow country people to laugh at the Metal scenes self involved contradictions.
All these three things have been successfully extracted by HEAVY TRIP. It’s funny, without diluting the music (which is often brilliant and penned for the film!). It also has touches of humanity, humility and sardonic digs at the whole moronic nature of fame. The leads feel fresh and add timing to the jokes. While also acting without over doing it. Then comes the performances themselves. As the film grows in cult status I suspect they could even start a band and let out the Impaled Rektum to the world. Or just maybe let us have a taste of what Impaled Rektum could do…if not impaled…