A legendary Lapland frontiersman is given expansive biopic treatment in helmer Tapio Suominen's attractive but dull "Mosku -- The Last of His Kind." Basically a Western transposed to northern Finland, pic provides no real insight into the character, and the novelty of reindeer corrals soon wears thin.

A legendary Lapland frontiersman is given expansive biopic treatment in helmer Tapio Suominen’s attractive but dull “Mosku — The Last of His Kind.” Basically a Western transposed to northern Finland, pic provides no real insight into the character, and the novelty of reindeer corrals soon wears thin. Pic did respectable biz in Finland, but has slim chances of finding life on offshore screens.

The law of the frontier is the real tale, focusing on one man’s love for the forest. Loner Mosku (Kai Lehtinen) has a reputation as an honest and resourceful woodsman, respected by his employers and feared by bandits. He clashes with Russian vodka peddler and thief Rupipaa (Uula Laakso), and the epic feud between these two wild men forms the crux of the narrative. Pic is divided into decades, but they all have the same feel; and while characters keep recurring, the episodic treatment fails to achieve an organic whole. Star Lehtinen combines Harrison Ford looks with Gary Cooper’s strong, silent personality, but it’s unclear whether Mosku is a tortured soul or just a social misfit. Helmer Suominen shows an eye in the first half for majestic landscapes.

Mosku - The Last of His Kind

Finland

Production

A Columbia TriStar Nordisk Film release of a FantasiaFilmi production. (International sales: Columbia TriStar Nordisk Film, Helsinki.) Produced by Asko Apajalahti. Directed by Tapio Suominen. Screenplay, Olli Soinio, Suominen.

Crew

Camera (Fujicolor, widescreen), Robert Nordstrom; editor, Tuomo Leino; music, Tuomas Kantelinen, Johnny Lee Michaels; production designer, Ahto Sumujarvi; costume designer, Arja Tanskanen; sound (Dolby Digital), Pasi Peni. Reviewed at Taormina Film Festival (World Cinema), June 12, 2003. Running time: 133 MIN.

With

Kai Lehtinen, Maria Jarvenhelmi, Petter Sairanen, Uula Laakso, Rauno Ahonen, Kari Lahti, Paavo Pentikainen.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more