In “The Man Exposed,” Finnish helmer Aki Louhimies makes a radical departure from his gritty, award-winning “Frozen Land” with a comedy set among the clergy. Marbled with serious moments, the overall result is uneven, though it should score nicely on home turf. Offshore, it’s mostly a fest item.
Pitkanen (Samuli Edelmann) and Tuula (Matlena Kuusniemi) are married and are both priests. He wants her to become pregnant and she’s pushing him to become the next bishop. The present bishop (Jussi Parviainen) likes the idea, and agrees to promote Pitkanen as his successor.
But Pitkanen sees himself as a rebel, the only Finnish priest with a ponytail and boots. He drinks too much, he’s overweight and he’s suddenly got a crush on Vilma (Laura Malmivaara), a young woman who works in the church. Tuula doesn’t seem to mind, as long as he plays the game of becoming the new bishop.
As part of the deal, Pitkanen agrees to fire his old friend, Markku (Mikko Kouki), who also works for the church but drinks so much that he’s become an embarrassment. However, Pitkanen starts to develop an increasingly bad conscience over what he’s doing.
As its English title suggests, pic is about hypocrisy. But it’s not simply an attack on the clergy, but rather an attack on hypocrisy everywhere — on people who are willing to sell their souls to get what they strive for. As portrayed by the always reliable Edelmann, Pitkanen becomes a believable character, one who is to be pitied and whom we can root for.
Film’s title also has a purely physical meaning. The amount of full-frontal male nudity is enough to earn it censorship problems in many countries.
“The Man Exposed” is often funny, and has an abundance of interesting engaging characters. Main problem is its length: trimming by 10 minutes would make it much snappier and much more satisfying. Still, it’s entertaining enough, and the fine cast and production values are both plusses.