Book-ended by funerals and with interconnected chapters incorporating suicide, murder and addiction, this is a cold slab of Scandinavian miserabilism. Inspired by the Tolstoy novella The Forged Coupon, itself the basis for Bresson’s L’Argent, the Helsinki-set Frozen Land revolves around a counterfeit 500 Euro banknote circulated among the unfortunate characters, a visual symbol for how bad luck is passed between human beings. A decent premise, but it’s a pity that writer/director Aku Louhimies didn’t spend longer on the doomed partnership between belligerent, mulleted car thief Isto and lugubrious vacuum-cleaner salesman Teuvo, for theirs is the most compelling section. Shooting in appropriately chilly tones, Louhimies overloads the film with drama, and his life-is-hell philosophy is undercut by a clichéd things-work-out -for-the-best closing speech.
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