A Trip To Remember

Heavy Trip (d. Jukka Vidgren; Jusso Latio, 2018)

After a semester of films that ranged from the confusing to the phenomenal, to the straightforward to the abstract, and from the discernible to the WTFness, After that rollercoaster of a film selection, it only feels fitting to end on Heavy Trip, a heavy metal film that despite its rough exterior, has an incredibly funny tone and warm heart.

The film’s premise is something that is actually almost familiar. A budding young band wants to get a gig and perform and grow big. But what makes the film unique from the start is that the film heavily embraces the heavy metal aesthetic. It is loud, it is chaotic, and it truly feels jarring if one is not a fan of heavy metal. However, whether one loves metal or not is irrelevant to the enjoyment of the film, which is actually another great part about the film. Even though I am personally not a fan of metal music, I can still see that the way the film tackles the genre’s history with respect. There is a clear showcase of genuine love of heavy metal throughout the film, whether from the many references to other acts as well as its original music.

Another thing that I also liked about the movie was the central cast. While there’s certainly nothing here that would probably be acclaimed at famous film festivals, the cast of the film, particularly the central band, are all very well acted with good comedic timing and performances. It really made them feel believable as not just a band, but a strong group of friends.

The movie is also very very accessible, even to people unfamiliar with the metal genre. An amusing example is near the beginning of the film, where one of the characters discovers their new original song by literally putting a dead reindeer through a meat grinder and enjoying the music coming from the accident. It almost feels like a double layer joke – it is funny because of the ridiculousness of the whole scene, but it is also funny because it does exactly sound like most heavy metal in the film. It is something tonally different from what is to be expected from metal, and yet it is still distinctly metal.

While there are some problems (for starters, the film’s primary antagonist in the form of a scheming and womanizing singer never really feels like a big threat), these are really just minor nitpicks at what is, essentially, a near-perfect comedy. Most comedies that I have seen, even among my favorites, admittedly have scenes that feel unnecessary or a moment in the film where it appears that nothing much is going on. But Heavy Trip does not really suffer from this. Its runtime is fast, the movie going through comedic set-piece after comedic set-piece that makes sure that even its weaker moments are quickly overshadowed by the next thing.

And that’s honestly just what makes the movie just a good time. Heavy Trip is just a feel-good movie with humor that never really gets old (the farcial scene of the border patrol agents in Norway on the final act is one of the most I’ve ever laughed at a movie in a very long time), music that can easily be appreciated, and a cast that just clicks at almost every turn.

All-in-all, Heavy Trip may be a simple film, but after the heaviness of plenty of the films in the course? It just feels appropriate to end here, with a film that is both simple and yet distinctly unique.

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