Review: ‘The Way to a Woman’s Heart’

A cheesy comedy-thriller in which a journalist attempts to solve the mystery of a woman who claims to have been held in a mental institution against her will, "The Way to a Woman's Heart" is, at best, a minor video entry. Timo Torikka plays Pentii Antilla, the unkempt protagonist. The film hardly gets off to a good start when he drunkenly assaults his wife, who has him temporarily placed in a mental home. Before managing to confirm his sanity, Antilla encounters the beauteous Tutteli (Merja Larivaara), who claims to come from a small town where she knows too much about wrongdoing and, as a result, has been slapped in the nut house.

Antilla takes time off from his paper to start an investigation in the small, picturesque town, and from the moment he arrives he realizes he’s stumbled onto something big. The taxi driver who takes him from the station to a hotel pulls a gun on him when he mentions Tutteli — hardly a warm welcome, and there’s more to come from the very unfriendly locals. When his investigations result in the murder of the one person who was willing to talk about Tutteli, Antilla realizes the Finnish Mafia is involved, as well as the town’s most prominent citizen, Victor Boom (Tom Wentzel).

Although production values are good, pic suffers from director Pekka Parikka’s slack pacing. Initially intriguing premise isn’t fulfilled; instead, this is standard stuff, complete with voiceover narration and a few silly jokes to pad out the overextended running time. Torikka is an engaging enough protagonist, but no one else in the film emerges as very interesting. The climax is both predictable and bland.

The Way to a Woman's Heart

Finnish

Production

A Fantasiafilmi Oy production. Produced by Asko Apajalahti. Directed by Pekka Parikka. Screenplay, Parikka, Jussi Kylatasku, from an idea by Kylavaara

Crew

Camera (color), Kari Sohlberg; editor, Jukka Nykanen; music, Antti Hytti; production design, Pertti Hilkamo; costumes, Mila Niemi; sound (Dolby SR), Johan Hake; associate producer, Ilkka Kylavaara; assistant director, Juha Pursiainen. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (market), Feb. 16, 1997. Running time: 108 MIN.

With

Pentii Anttila ..... Timo Torikka Siru Donner ..... Satu Silvo Kauko Kinanen ..... Peter Franzen Victor Boom ..... Tom Wentzel Tutteli ..... Merja Larivaara Matilda ..... Irina Bjorklund Sam ..... Vesa Vierikko
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