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I give Rendel an A for effort. It’s the first Finnish superhero film. Ever.
Here’s what’s good about it. The film is shot mostly in Mikkeli in eastern Finland known as the “Gotham City of Finland” in cold and bad weather, which gives the film a natural, desaturated look. Some of the actors do well, especially Tero Salenius as talkative Kurikka, Alina Tomnikov as bad bitch Maria and last but not least Kristofer Gummerus as the superhero of few words, Rendel, whom the film is about.
Too bad that the storyline and the dialogue stink.
The film is directed by Jesse Haaja, 33, a newcomer to the world of Finnish feature films. The idea sparked from a character Haaja had drawn in secondary school. He added the picture of the character to Facebook. Soon he was at Cannes, negotiating. The filming cost about 1.5 million euros, collected with loan money, own investments and various sponsors. Rendel was shot in 60 days, in two phases during 2015 and 2016.
Haaja handed the cliched script where a superhero beats bad guys to Pekka Lehtosaari, an experienced writer of Finnish films but maybe best known for Salatut Elämät (Secret Lives), the first Finnish daily soap opera. “Many things were wrong with it,” Lehtosaari said at the screening of the film. Lehtosaari tried to save the script. He said he fixed it. But in truth, he couldn’t.
The story drags, doesn’t grab you with excitement and the characters remain superficial and violent. Mostly violent. In fact, the film includes one of the most disturbing scenes I’ve seen during the whole year.
In addition, the film forces humor down the viewer’s throat before there is time to swallow with characters like Rotikka played by Rami Rusinen, who speaks very bad English throughout the film. This is funny for two seconds.
For those who want to see a cliched film with strong stereotypes of Finns, you have hit the jackpot.
I left the screening feeling disturbed and nauseous.
‘Rendel’ premieres in cinemas September 22.