Bad Luck Love | Chicago Reader

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None of the vaguely low-life characters in Olli Saarela's uniquely Finnish tale of love, jealousy, murder, and redemption seems to have a clue that there's a larger world beyond their few scruffy blocks of home turf. At once violently reactive and stultifyingly passive, they seem governed by the laws of inertia. They hang out around a gym, more or less in training—but for what? There are no matches, no hint that boxing is anything but a pretext for hitting punching bags and occasionally one another. Ex-fireman Saarela's view of his resolutely lumpen characters is neither empathetic nor judgmental. His hero's drunken, doped-up, jealousy-driven, and amazingly brutal slaughter of a local punk is treated with the same acceptance as his later conversion to forgiveness and Christianity; the Jesus tattoo he acquires in prison shares pride of place on his body with the death heads and skulls of his former allegiance. It's all indicative that he's a changed man, sort of. 84 min.

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