The Movie Binge

Lights in the Dusk


Lights in the Dusk is the third picture in a series helmed by director Aki Kaurismäki, a filmmaker well-regarded for his talent for dark comedy, and whose The Man Without a Past was nominated for an Oscar. Unfortunately, none of that made a difference when I got to the theater yesterday, because all I saw was flat lighting, stoic shots, a complete dearth of emotion and characters with less appeal than first-round reality show losers. In other words, Lights in the Dusk is on par with a student film.

Our main man Koistinen (Janne Hyytiäinen) has some shitty luck and may be worthy of some sympathy, but he makes zero effort to get his act together. After being swindled by an attractive lady doing a gangster's bidding, he takes the rap and goes to jail for no discernable reason. He has dreams of starting his own business, but he makes minimal effort and thinks he'll get the world in return. How am I supposed to sympathize with that? The rest of the characters were equally empty and don't seem to have any real motivation for what they do. The gangster's sole reason for destroying Koistinen's life is that he's doing a friend a favor, but we only hear this in a passing remark and there's no follow through. Maybe the film's soulless nature is Aki's intention, as Lights is pitched as a tale of loneliness and I certainly felt alone in that theater.


OK, I should admit I didn't see this one, maybe it is really that horrible, but from what you write it seems just like his earlier movies, which are mostly brilliant. It's nice that - just maybe - emotions don't always have to be sledgehammered into your brain with suggestive music and melodramatic dialog. But I guess you can always go home to watch some Oprah, where people have SOULS.

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