You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Trench Road

A man's bizarre meltdown after his family abandons him is the main event in "Trench Road," Finnish helmer Veikko Aaltonen's adaptation of the award-winning novel by Kari Hotakainen. Well-produced pic holds attention, yet falls short, as lead perf and direction fail to maximize the story's rich potential for pathos, grotesquerie and black humor.

With:
With: Eero Aho, Tiina Lymi, Ella Aho, Kari Vaananen, Kaija Pakarinen; Katariina Kaitue, Esko Pesonen, Eila Roine, Kalevi Haapoja.

A man’s bizarre meltdown after his family abandons him is the main event in “Trench Road,” Finnish helmer Veikko Aaltonen’s adaptation of the award-winning novel by Kari Hotakainen. Well-produced pic holds attention, yet falls short, as lead perf and direction fail to maximize the story’s rich potential for pathos, grotesquerie and black humor. It’s a study of escalating madness and obsession that remains too politely outside those qualities. Nonetheless, results rep a viable fest item with above-average broadcast sales prospects.

Eero Aho plays Matti Virttanen, a forklift operator and talented amateur chef whose complacency is making unsympathetic wife Helena (Tiina Lymi, thesp’s off-screen spouse) furious. One night when she berates him as less than a real man, he impulsively hits her — a first such offense, but enough to provide her with excuse to leave their apartment with his beloved young daughter and file for divorce.

Rapidly unraveling in his new solitude, Matti begins obsessing over the acquisition of a veteran house — one built for returning soldiers after WWII — as the missing factor that will magically bring his family back together. He also commences rigorous physical training in planning to intimidate, military-style, the owners of homes he covets.

This conceptual mix of “American Beauty”-type midlife-crisis-in-suburbia satire and paramilitary delusions a la “The Beach” should be more striking than it is. Aaltonen’s too-evenhanded approach doesn’t reflect the protag’s disintegration in stylistic terms (a few tepid TV commercial fantasies aside), and lead Aho is just passable in a potentially great role. By the time Matti barricades himself in a stranger’s home, holding an actual veteran (Esko Pesonen) captive at gunpoint while baffled police, wife and child stand outside, pic should have worked up a much headier foam of mingled absurdity, suspense and tragedy.

Generation-gap resentment by younger Finnish men (who’ve never served in a war) toward their Greatest Generation forbears, and all related issues of macho insecurity, constitute a central theme pic could have articulated more clearly for offshore auds.

Package is smoothly handled on all tech levels; Mauri Sumen’s score verges on the bombastic.

Trench Road

Finland

Production: A Kinotar production in association with the Finnish Film Foundation. Produced by Lasse Saarinen. Directed by Veikko Aaltonen. Screenplay, Veikko Aaltonen, based on the novel by Kari Hotakainen.

Crew: Camera (color), Pekka Uotila; editor, Kimmo Kohtamaki; music, Mauri Sumen; production designer, Marjaana Rantama; costume designer, Jaana Tamminen; sound designer (Dolby Digital), Olli Huhtanen. Reviewed at Cinequest, San Jose, March 10, 2005. Running time: 111 MIN.

With: With: Eero Aho, Tiina Lymi, Ella Aho, Kari Vaananen, Kaija Pakarinen; Katariina Kaitue, Esko Pesonen, Eila Roine, Kalevi Haapoja.

More Film

  • Stranger Things Season 2

    Netflix, Deutsche Telekom Ink Global Partnership

    A man’s bizarre meltdown after his family abandons him is the main event in “Trench Road,” Finnish helmer Veikko Aaltonen’s adaptation of the award-winning novel by Kari Hotakainen. Well-produced pic holds attention, yet falls short, as lead perf and direction fail to maximize the story’s rich potential for pathos, grotesquerie and black humor. It’s a […]

  • 'Sweet Country,' 'Newton' Share Honors at

    'Sweet Country,' 'Newton' Share Top Honors at Asia Pacific Screen Awards

    A man’s bizarre meltdown after his family abandons him is the main event in “Trench Road,” Finnish helmer Veikko Aaltonen’s adaptation of the award-winning novel by Kari Hotakainen. Well-produced pic holds attention, yet falls short, as lead perf and direction fail to maximize the story’s rich potential for pathos, grotesquerie and black humor. It’s a […]

  • Canal Plus

    AMC Networks International Picks Up Canal Plus Show 'Ouro' for Spain, Portugal

    A man’s bizarre meltdown after his family abandons him is the main event in “Trench Road,” Finnish helmer Veikko Aaltonen’s adaptation of the award-winning novel by Kari Hotakainen. Well-produced pic holds attention, yet falls short, as lead perf and direction fail to maximize the story’s rich potential for pathos, grotesquerie and black humor. It’s a […]

  • Overview of IDFA’s 2017 Forum

    IDFA Forum: ‘Documentary Makers Want To Go Behind The News’

    A man’s bizarre meltdown after his family abandons him is the main event in “Trench Road,” Finnish helmer Veikko Aaltonen’s adaptation of the award-winning novel by Kari Hotakainen. Well-produced pic holds attention, yet falls short, as lead perf and direction fail to maximize the story’s rich potential for pathos, grotesquerie and black humor. It’s a […]

  • Serbian Doc 'The Other Side of

    'The Other Side of Everything' Leads Winners From a Politically Charged IDFA Lineup

    A man’s bizarre meltdown after his family abandons him is the main event in “Trench Road,” Finnish helmer Veikko Aaltonen’s adaptation of the award-winning novel by Kari Hotakainen. Well-produced pic holds attention, yet falls short, as lead perf and direction fail to maximize the story’s rich potential for pathos, grotesquerie and black humor. It’s a […]

  • Ventana Sur: Blood Window Work In

    Ventana Sur: A Breakdown of This Year's Blood Window Work in Progress Section

    A man’s bizarre meltdown after his family abandons him is the main event in “Trench Road,” Finnish helmer Veikko Aaltonen’s adaptation of the award-winning novel by Kari Hotakainen. Well-produced pic holds attention, yet falls short, as lead perf and direction fail to maximize the story’s rich potential for pathos, grotesquerie and black humor. It’s a […]

  • Overview of IDFA’s 2017 Shifting Perspectives

    IDFA’s Shifting Perspectives Program – ‘It’s About Ownership Of Images’

    A man’s bizarre meltdown after his family abandons him is the main event in “Trench Road,” Finnish helmer Veikko Aaltonen’s adaptation of the award-winning novel by Kari Hotakainen. Well-produced pic holds attention, yet falls short, as lead perf and direction fail to maximize the story’s rich potential for pathos, grotesquerie and black humor. It’s a […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content