Critics' Pick

Heavy Trip (Hevi reissu) (NR)

Comedy 92 min. October 5, 2018
By Chuck Wilson
In the sweet-souled and genuinely funny Finnish comedy Heavy Trip, Turo (Johannes Holopainen), the lead singer of a heavy metal band, shrugs off the daily “Get a haircut!” taunts of his small-town neighbors with the “fuck you” confidence of a true metalhead. Or so he hopes. Inside, Turo is nearly overwhelmed by doubt. He’s too shy to ask his dream girl out for coffee, and though his bandmates don’t know it, he has terrible stage fright. Which may be why the band Turo and his three best friends formed as teens — they rehearse in the reindeer slaughterhouse owned by the bass player’s father — has never performed in front of an audience, and doesn’t yet even have a name. (All the good ones are taken.)

In their feature debut, co-writers/directors Juuso Laatio and Jukka Vidgren and co-writers Aleksi Puranen and Jari Olavi Rantala reach for absurdist comedy — the reindeer-blood accident, the projectile-vomit bit, the grave-robbing incident — with a touch so light that the general nuttiness comes to seem a central (and essential) component of Finnish rural life. After finally recording their first original song (“Flooding Secretions”) and passing it on to a promoter, the band prepare to travel to Norway to play their first (ever) gig, at a famous music festival. Only Turo knows they’re not really invited, but a third-act tragedy (reindeer-related) inspires them all to at last try to fulfill the promise inherent in their self-described musical category: symphonic, post-apocalyptic, reindeer-grinding, Christ-abusing, extreme war pagan, Fennoscandic metal. (Insert primal scream here.)
Juuso Laatio, Jukka Vidgren Torstein Bjørklund, Antti Heikkinen, Ville Hilska, Johannes Holopainen, Samuli Jaskio Juuso Laatio, Aleksi Puranen Doppelgänger Releasing

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