September 18, 2012 at 4:04PM
TIFF Capsule Review: 'Road North'
The latest film of Mika Kaurismäki, the Brazil-based older brother of "Le Havre" director Aki, takes the filmmaker back to his home country of Finland. As generic as its title, "Road North" is a road-trip movie in which an adult son, Timo (Samuli Edelmann), gets to hang out with his unknown and oversized father, Leo (Vesa-Matti Loiri), and — surprise! — the unlikely duo find that they share more than they initially expected. Timo is a finicky concert pianist and his boozing, smoking and stealing old man seems to be his complete opposite, though several comedic setpieces (including a musical one, one of the film’s highlights) reveal they are cut out from pretty much the same cloth. Idiosyncratic in a rather more generic manner than one usually gets from either of the Kaurismäki brothers, "North" at least boasts some nice camerawork as the duo move into the direction of Lapland. Veteran actor Loiri, playing a larger-than-life character, delivers a performance that’s not exactly subtle but works, with Edelmann (recently seen in a bit part in "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol") delivering slightly more nuanced work. Criticwire grade: C+ [Boyd van Hoeij]