Bad Family

After a perversely fascinating first half, a darkly comic psychodrama goes plain psycho in "Bad Family," the third feature from Finnish writer-helmer Aleski Salmenpera ("Producing Adults"). At first, tale of an overprotective dad who believes his teen son is shtupping a long-lost sister builds a transgressive tension redolent of guilty pleasures such as Joseph Ruben's "The Stepfather" or Salmenpera's own "A Man's Job." But pic loses its way at midpoint, becoming a tonal rollercoaster that skitters to a weak stop. Although likely to do best business in ancillary, pedigree of Salmenpera and producer Aki Kaurismaki could leverage further fest play.

With:
With: Ville Virtanen, Pihla Viitala, Lauri Tilkanen, Vera Kiiskinen, Niki Seppala, Ismo Kallio, Tomi (Topi) Salmela.

After a perversely fascinating start, a darkly comic psychodrama goes plain psycho in “Bad Family,” from Finnish writer-helmer Aleksi Salmenpera (“Producing Adults”). At first, this tale of an overprotective dad who believes his teen son is shtupping a long-lost sister builds a transgressive tension redolent of guilty pleasures such as “The Stepfather” or Salmenpera’s own “Man’s Job.” But the pic loses its way at the midpoint, becoming a tonal roller-coaster that skitters to a stop. The pedigree of Salmenpera and producer Aki Kaurismaki could leverage further fest play, though the pic is likely to do best in ancillary.

Mikael (Ville Virtanen, so tightly wound it’s scary) micromanages his good-looking high school son Dani (Lauri Tilkanen) until the day daughter Tilda (Berlin fest shooting star Pihla Viitala) appears. Soon, youthful rebellion fills the air and an obsessive father’s mind recoils at thoughts of incest until madness sets in. In the beginning, serious thesping by the three principals suggests psychological depth, but the script eventually leaves them high and dry. Lenser Tuomo Hutri gives the proceedings a hyperrealist look, while a lightly used keyboard-and-percussion score adds mocking commentary.

Bad Family

Finland

Production: A Sandrew Metronome Distribution release (in Finland) of a Sputnik Oy production. (International sales: The Match Factory, Cologne.) Produced by Aki Kaurismaki. Directed, written by Aleksi Salmenpera.

Crew: Camera (color), Tuomo Hutri; editor, Samu Heikkila; music, Ville Tanttu; production designer, Markku Patila; costume designer, Ella Brigatti; sound (Dolby Digital), Tero Malmberg. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama), Feb. 14, 2010. Original title: Paha perhe. Running time: 95 MIN.

With: With: Ville Virtanen, Pihla Viitala, Lauri Tilkanen, Vera Kiiskinen, Niki Seppala, Ismo Kallio, Tomi (Topi) Salmela.

More Film

  • NANTUCKET, MA - JUNE 23: (L-R)

    How Long Will TV and Film's Boom Market for Female Stories Last?

    After a perversely fascinating start, a darkly comic psychodrama goes plain psycho in “Bad Family,” from Finnish writer-helmer Aleksi Salmenpera (“Producing Adults”). At first, this tale of an overprotective dad who believes his teen son is shtupping a long-lost sister builds a transgressive tension redolent of guilty pleasures such as “The Stepfather” or Salmenpera’s own […]

  • 'Ideal Home' Review: Steve Coogan, Paul

    Film Review: 'Ideal Home'

    After a perversely fascinating start, a darkly comic psychodrama goes plain psycho in “Bad Family,” from Finnish writer-helmer Aleksi Salmenpera (“Producing Adults”). At first, this tale of an overprotective dad who believes his teen son is shtupping a long-lost sister builds a transgressive tension redolent of guilty pleasures such as “The Stepfather” or Salmenpera’s own […]

  • 'Calibre' Review: A Terrific, Intensely Terrifying

    Edinburgh Film Review: 'Calibre'

    After a perversely fascinating start, a darkly comic psychodrama goes plain psycho in “Bad Family,” from Finnish writer-helmer Aleksi Salmenpera (“Producing Adults”). At first, this tale of an overprotective dad who believes his teen son is shtupping a long-lost sister builds a transgressive tension redolent of guilty pleasures such as “The Stepfather” or Salmenpera’s own […]

  • CHRIS PRATT stars as Owen in

    Box Office: 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Gnaws on $144 Million Debut Weekend

    After a perversely fascinating start, a darkly comic psychodrama goes plain psycho in “Bad Family,” from Finnish writer-helmer Aleksi Salmenpera (“Producing Adults”). At first, this tale of an overprotective dad who believes his teen son is shtupping a long-lost sister builds a transgressive tension redolent of guilty pleasures such as “The Stepfather” or Salmenpera’s own […]

  • Leung Chiu-wai

    Tony Leung Breaks With Wong Kar-wai’s Jettone (Reports)

    After a perversely fascinating start, a darkly comic psychodrama goes plain psycho in “Bad Family,” from Finnish writer-helmer Aleksi Salmenpera (“Producing Adults”). At first, this tale of an overprotective dad who believes his teen son is shtupping a long-lost sister builds a transgressive tension redolent of guilty pleasures such as “The Stepfather” or Salmenpera’s own […]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    ‘Jurassic World’ Holds off ‘Incredibles 2’ in China

    After a perversely fascinating start, a darkly comic psychodrama goes plain psycho in “Bad Family,” from Finnish writer-helmer Aleksi Salmenpera (“Producing Adults”). At first, this tale of an overprotective dad who believes his teen son is shtupping a long-lost sister builds a transgressive tension redolent of guilty pleasures such as “The Stepfather” or Salmenpera’s own […]

  • shanghai skyline China Placeholder

    Regulators Keep Chinese Film Industry in Suspense

    After a perversely fascinating start, a darkly comic psychodrama goes plain psycho in “Bad Family,” from Finnish writer-helmer Aleksi Salmenpera (“Producing Adults”). At first, this tale of an overprotective dad who believes his teen son is shtupping a long-lost sister builds a transgressive tension redolent of guilty pleasures such as “The Stepfather” or Salmenpera’s own […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content