Thursday, October 04, 2018

Heavy Trip: Finnish Head-Banging

There are pockets of Scandinavia where metal still rules, like it is still the late 1980s. Maybe it is the Nordic scenery that would often resemble heavy metal album covers, if you replaced the Atlantic Ocean and Arctic Sea with Hellfire. Alas, Turo Moilanen lives in a small Finnish town where hair bands get no respect. However, Moilanen and his three band-mates have a dream of hardcore glory, but nobody is going to hand it to them. They will have to fight for it head-banger-style in Juuso Laatio & Jukka Vidgren’s Heavy Trip (trailer here), which opens tomorrow in New York.

Turo is the front-man in a band called Impaled Rektum, but the mere idea of performing in front of an audience will send him off projectile vomiting. Of the Un-Fab Four, Jynkky, their formerly dead drummer, is probably the healthiest. Yet, with a little encouragement from someone like his longtime crush Miia, he might possibly pull it together in time for their set on the main stage of the biggest Scandinavian metal festival.

Yeah sure, but the thing of it is, Impaled Rektum really hasn’t been invited. It was just a misunderstanding that took on a life of its own. Regardless, it could still be the sight of pointlessly futile gesture on their part—if they can get there.

For the most part, Heavy Trip is a genial, quirky comedy that you could watch with your grandparents, but at least one plot point around midway through took some guts. Still, this doesn’t feel all that different from A Man Called Ove or The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.

Johannes Holopainen’s long-haired Turo is mostly a big nothing, but he still manages to build some nice chemistry with Minka Kuustonen, who is quite winning as Miia. The rest of the band look like they are acting goofy on cue. Perhaps the best supporting turn comes from Chike Ohanwe, who definitely goes all in as a metal loving psych patient at the hospital where Turo works as a lowly orderly.

Basically, Heavy Trip is a harmless film that is desperate to be liked. Some of the jokes appeal to a “grim-dark” sensibility, but it is mostly too polite for a true head-banger movie. As a result, it is hard to really pin down who this film is really intended for. Therefore, Heavy Trip is mostly just recommended for aging metal-heads looking for low-impact nostalgia. The rest of us can just go about our business when it opens this Friday (10/5) in New York, at the IFC Center.