Review: ‘Flowers & Binding’

if "Twin Peaks" were shot hand-held and set in the Finnish countryside, it would resemble Janne Kuusi's "Flowers & Binding," an offbeat black comedy whose quirky humor remains mesmerizing until the script flounders in the second half. Centered on bizarre characters at a small town sausage factory, pic's opening scenes are not for weak-stomached vegetarians.

If “Twin Peaks” were shot hand-held and set in the Finnish countryside, it would resemble Janne Kuusi’s “Flowers & Binding,” an offbeat black comedy whose quirky humor remains mesmerizing until the script flounders in the second half. Centered on bizarre characters at a small town sausage factory, pic’s opening scenes are not for weak-stomached vegetarians. Story will probably ring more bells for local auds, although Kaurismaki regular Outi Maenpaa is eminently enjoyable. Home biz was high. Finding the right auds further afield will be the challenge.

Town stud Jyrki (Simo Routarinne) makes it his business to seduce every woman within radar distance of his sausage factory. Keeping wife Gitta (Sari Siikander) satisfied while also pleasing co-worker Kaisa (Sari Havas) isn’t a problem, although Gitta catches him in flagrante with trashy cleaning lady Eve (Maenpaa), both half-naked and smeared with chocolate covered creme puffs. A couple of angry hubbies go further than anticipated in teaching him a lesson, but Jyrki proves resilient. Too many writers may explain the scenes out of left field and the weak ending. Nonetheless, Maenpaa went home with the best actress “Jussi” for her brassy perf.

Flowers & Binding

Finland

Production

A Helsinki-Filmi and Kinotaurus presentation of a Kinotaurus Oy production. (International sales, Intramovies, Rome.) Produced by Aleksi Bardy, Marko Rauhala. Executive producers, Olli Haikka, Riina Hyytia. Directed by Janne Kuusi. Screenplay, Aleksi Bardy, Kuusi, the Stella Polaris group.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Jyri Hakala, Pentti Keskimaki; editor, Samu Heikkila; music, Juha Bjorninen; production designer, Riina Sipilainen; costume designer, Helena Paavilainen. Reviewed on DVD, Rome, May 28, 2005. (In Cannes Film Festival -- market.) Running time: 103 MIN.

With

Outi Maenpaa, Sari Havas, Jarmo Hyttinen, Kirsti Kuosmanen, Tiina Pirhonen, Simo Routarinne, Sari Siikander, Elina Stirkkinen, Kari-Pekka Toivonen, Tobias Zilliacus.
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