Friday, November 7, 2008

The Cuckoo (2002) PG13 - 4 Stars

What a great little foreign movie this is. From the imagery to the storyline and the characters, they are all just fantastic. And the best part of it all is, none of them can communicate with each other in normal traditional speech which makes the movie that much more enjoyable. And since I don't speak Finnish, Lapp or Russian, I felt like the 4th character invited in to share in the fun. A whole new storyline is formed just by what each character thinks the other is saying to them. For that part alone, I'm marking it a comedy too based on these interactions.

Finnish sniper Veiko (Ville Haapasalo) is dressed in a German uniform and nailed to a rock and left to die by his comrades for being labeled a pacifist. Armed with his weapon, a few rations and his eyeglasses, Veiko must find a way to escape his inevitable doom before it's too late. In 1944, with World War II in the background and a possible Finland's withdrawal, if he's spotted he could be shot for his appearance in German garb. He makes good use of his glasses for starting a spot fire over the rock and nail of his tomb, slowly chipping away at his release. Through the scope of his riffle, he sees a small convoy approaching carrying a Russian man accused of collaborating with the enemy. As he watches, a bomb is dropped from the sky lading on target.

Anni "Cuckoo"(Anni-Christina Juuso), is a Laplander who has been on her own for the last six years while her husband is off to war. She doesn't want to admit he's dead and has become extremely lonely and must make due for herself while she scavenges for food by her very primitive home. Though her home lacks any modern convenience, she is able to farm her deer and the waters for fish. When she runs into the bombing site, she finds one of the disgraced soldiers still alive. After burying the others, she drags the soldier to her home to nurse him back to health.

Ivan (Viktor Bychkov) is the soldier rescued and though Anni and he can not communicate through their language, they both form a bond between them. As Veiko is able to set himself free from his imprisonment, he stumbles upon the home and wanders in to ask for help to release him from his chains that still bind him.

Now is when the fun begins as the three complete opposites of culture, war and communication, co-exist to find comfort between them. The interactions of the three are truly enjoyable and the differences that bind them together, will also split them apart.

Sony Pictures Classics
Director: Alexandr Rogozhkin
Writer: Alexandr Rogozhkin
Producer: Sergei Selyanov
I viewed 10/08

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