The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Naked Harbour | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Naked Harbour

Directed by: Aku Louhimies
Starring: Alma Pöysti, Aino Louhimies, Sean Pertwee, Laura Birn, Amanda Pilke

Anthology of stories set in a Helsinki suburb.

Louhimies latest Helsinki set film features an Altman-esque tableau of intersecting characters and plot-lines. Amongst them are an American visiting the city on business, a junkie couple struggling to pay off a thug, a 16 year old who will "do anything" for fame, a bullied Russian immigrant boy, a couple whose marriage is falling apart, a schoolboy whose only friend is his dog, a father who projects his body issues onto his teenage son, and a young single mother undergoing chemotherapy.
Finland often tops European surveys regarding suicide rates and, if 'Naked Harbour' is anything to go by, it's easy to see why. Practically every character is undergoing some form of abject misery and at times the film is genuinely heart-breaking, particularly the story-lines dealing with children. Louhimies seems to employ the American character, (played unconvincingly by Brit Pertwee. Couldn't the character have just as easily been British?), as a means of providing Finnish audiences with a way of viewing their society through an outsider's eyes. Aside from the liberal attitude to sex, the issues on display are quite universal. If Louhimies think's only Finns are obsessed with reality shows, he's kidding himself.
The cast, Pertwee excepted, are all fantastic and, as a sometimes amusing, sometimes shocking, glimpse into contemporary Finnish society, it's at times fascinating. Unfortunately the script lets it down at times and could have used a rewrite or two. Some of the plot-lines are given more prominence than others and most of them seem to just fade out rather than conclude in a satisfying manner. I've seen Louhimies accused of misogyny throughout his prolific career and, on the evidence of 'Naked Harbour', such accusations may not be unfounded. The female characters are all either incredibly dumb or absolute bitches. Most of them appear to indulge in some level of prostitution, though this could be purely down to poor writing.
Naked Harbour (2012) on IMDb 6.3/10