Juuso Laatio and Jukka Vidgren’s Heavy Trip follows a group of friends as they try to make it big in their small, Finnish town of Taivalkoski with their wannabe black metal band (later named Impaled Rektum). This film has been the most mainstream and modern film we have watched so far, and holds many similarities to a typical American comedy film (see The Hangover, Horrible Bosses, or Bridesmaids). However, it manages to transcend being a simple comedy film with its predictable, yet well-played plot and its setting in a specific cultural context. Similar to Good Bye, Lenin!, Heavy Trip shows that a good film doesn’t have to be difficult to watch (like Holy Motors or Raw) or have an intense plot (like Timecrimes), for as long as it makes its audience happy and feel good, then they’ve done their job.
For a movie that was centered around heavy death metal music (and other dark things, like the sounds of a dying reindeer getting caught in a bond grinder), Heavy Trip was incredibly funny, light, and dorky. From their awkward hair flips and impressive attempts at speaking English to stealing Jynkky’s coffin and having a bachelor’s party ruined by the Norwegian border patrol, the film is hilariously awkward, yet likable. The same description of awkward and likable goes for their characters; Laatio and Vidgren really developed the four guys well throughout the film and the actors portraying them did a great job with embodying their characters.
Though the killing off of Jynkky seemed like a random and cheap plot twist, it was an event that bolstered the second half of the film to be more driven by dedication, while still remaining funny. Not to mention, Jynkky’s death was practically foreshadowed at the beginning of the film where Turo states that he has legally been declared dead twice. This is where we can see an aspect of the film as a story about passion and dedication towards their goal. Personally, I have never heard so much heavy metal music in one sitting as I did when watching this movie, and even though I’m not familiar with the genre, I could tell that Impaled Rektum’s music playing was good. It’s also evident that these people know their stuff, especially Pasi, who can name every heavy metal song with just a few notes. Though similar to Holy Motor’s theme of commitment, Heavy Trip is different in that it deals with reality in a much more relatable sense, especially in the context of taking risks. This film also tackles friendship in a beautiful manner. Not every group of friends will drop everything, steal a van and cross the border to perform in a music festival, all while bringing along their friend’s coffin.
Overall, Heavy Trip was the funniest movie we’ve watched and a great end to the semester. Similar to our first film, A Woman is a Woman, which was light and not-so serious, Heavy Trip really proved itself as a music-driven and comedic film. Sir was right in saying although it may not have been the best movie created, or even the best movie we’ve watched in class, it sure as hell was funny. In conclusion, the past 11 films we have watched in this class have shown how wide and full of variety European cinema can be. But more than this, it has shown how culture will always present itself to the audience, either through music, landscape, or any other element.