TL;DR – A very contained film exploring relationships as they form in the intensity of a single moment.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Today I have been rained in, so with everything I was going to do put on hold, I thought I would take some time and explore some of the films available on-demand here in Australia. The first one I came across was a film out of Finland that explores a bond that is formed over a weekend working in the Finish countryside.
So to set the scene, Leevi (Janne Puustinen) is coming home to Finland after a long time away in Paris. He is home to get some research done on his thesis but whilst he is there he feels compelled to visit his father Jouko (Mika Melender), even though they have a strained relationship after the death of his mother. When he arrives at their summer cottage, Leevi discovers that his dad is renovating it, getting it ready to sell, and since he had no idea Leevi was coming he had hired someone from a job agency to help him. That is how Tareq (Boodi Kabbani) arrives at the cottage, and it is a good thing Leevi is there because Tareq is a Syrian refugee and he doesn’t speak Finish, and Jouko’s English is not that great so Leevi can act as a translator. However, things heat up when the two are left to their own devices and discover each other.
of the things that I found really interesting about the film is that there are
only four characters in the entire film, and one of those is only there for one
scene. This means that have a lot of time to focus on who the characters are
and their lives. So you get these really interesting character scenes like when
Tareq first arrives and Jouko discovers that he can’t speak Finish. After the initial
frustration subsides, he spends the next little while trying to explain to
Tareq what he needs doing in broken English, which Leevi clearly could help him
with, but Leevi is getting more than a little enjoyment out of watching him struggle
because of his stubbornness. It is a weird bit of power dynamics until you start to understand everyone’s backstories and it falls into place. There are
moments of this throughout the film, including times where entire conversations
happen just through looks and facial expressions.
It very much feels like this is a film built along a fault line, between the old and the young. You get these hints of Finland being a friendly country but also a very cold country especially from the older generation that feels that it is more important to save face than being accommodating. Which of course is juxtaposed with Tareq’s parents, who come from a similar conservative background. You also see that tension with Tareq being a symbol of everything that makes Jouko uncomfortable. Tareq has struggled so much to escape war and is doing everything possible to make a life for himself, but that does not seem to be enough for some people.
of course, all has an impact on the love
story that unfolds because love cannot be just let to live. Even without the pressure
that both of their parents are placing on them, there is this realisation that
even though they care deeply for each other, this is a relationship with a likely
end date on the horizon. This creates an interesting dynamic because Leevi does
not seem to understand this. While the relationship starts off with awkward
small talk, it soon hits full gear once they both realise that they are into
each other. While it does hit some of the tropes that you find in romantic
films, like yes someone will brush their hand across long grass as the sunsets.
It does also show the beauty of the Finish countryside.
Where I am not sure it all comes together is in the ending which means that there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. The film comes to a very abrupt end when Leevi and Tareq spend a day together and Jouko comes home to find them gone and puts the dots together. This isn’t so much of an issue, but the ending fell a bit more that we had to end the film rather than a natural endpoint. It also feels like things are left unresolved as the film runs to black. Which did leave me feeling a little frustrated.
In the end, do we recommend A Moment in the Reeds? Generally speaking yes we do. Now if you are not a fan of frank depictions of sex or sexuality then I doubt this is a film for you. However, if you are interested in the social interactions of a changing age, and in Finish or Queer cinema then this might a film you will really enjoy.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow
Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV,
he’ll be talking about International Relations,
or the Solar System.
Have you watched A Moment in the Reeds?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of A Moment in the Reeds
Directed by – Mikko Mäkelä
Written by – Mikko Mäkelä
Cinematography by – Iikka Salminen
Edited by – Mikko Mäkelä
Production/Distribution Companies – Wild Beast Productions & Peccadillo Pictures
Starring – Janne Puustinen, Boodi Kabbani, Mika Melender & Virpi Rautsiala
Rating – Australia: MA15+; United Kingdom: 18