Review: ‘Harbor Brothers’

Jazz comes to a Finnish seaport town in the 1950s in what may well be the least spontaneous movie on improv music ever to hit the screen. Leaden pacing, poor acting, undercooked characters and an overall lack of energy or originality make further bookings of Pekka Mandart's sophomore feature "Harbor Brothers" highly dubious.

Jazz comes to a Finnish seaport town in the 1950s in what may well be the least spontaneous movie on improv music ever to hit the screen. In this passionless, cookie-cutter spin, a bunch of eager young hep cats, swaying to the rhythm in ersatz ecstasy, quit their regular jobs to — what else? — put on a show. Leaden pacing, poor acting, undercooked characters and an overall lack of energy or originality make further bookings of Pekka Mandart’s sophomore feature “Harbor Brothers” highly dubious.

Rempo (Mikko Leppilampi), a Dennis Quaid look-alike with the trademark smirk but no compensatory charm, must choose between wild jammin’ with the fellas and domestic responsibility with g.f. Aila (Maria Ylipaa) and her beauty salon dreams. Meanwhile, Rempo and avant garde jazz pianist Olli (Mikko Nousiainen) buy a restaurant and convert it into a nightclub, giving the band members one summer of swing to separate the goats from the sheep. The goats are those who take music seriously, led by dictatorial Olli. The sheep are those for whom music is pure pleasure and freeform fun, led by hang-loose Rempo.

Harbor Brothers

Finland

Production

A Non-Stop Sales and Mandart Entertainment presentation of a Mandart Film production. Produced by Pamela Mandart. Directed by Pekka Mandart. Screenplay, Sami Keski-Vahala, Mandart.

Crew

Camera (color), Kari Sohlbert; editor, Jari Innanen; music, Marzi Nyman. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (Focus on World Cinema), Sept. 3, 2005. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Mikko Leppilampi, Maria Ylipaa, Mikko Nousiainen, Petteri Summanen.
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