It’s easy to make heavy metal the punchline of musicals, and it’s to its credit that Heavy travel, the 2018 Finnish film (also known as A band called Impaled Rektum in some territories) made by metal video veterans Juuso Laatio and Jukka Vidgren, now finally available in the UK via Arrow, never does. Metal is absolutely the key to this surprisingly smooth comedy centered on genuinely brutal music.
Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise in a Finnish film: the country has more metal bands per capita than any other. Yet even in Finland, where apparently you can’t throw a wand without hitting a guy in cadaveric paint recording a lo-fi blackened thrash masterpiece in their hangar, extreme metal is still outsider music, and it is the outsider who forms the thematic heart of Heavy travel.
We follow the very small town life of Turo (Johannes Holopainen), the singer of a garage metal band who has been rehearsing together for twelve years, but who has never written a song or performed in concert. Turo has paralyzing stage fright, a crush on the florist’s sweet girl, and a one-sided rivalry with the lead singer of the only other band in town, a cheesy salon act. The band’s life changes when the promoter of a major Norwegian metal festival passes by to buy reindeer blood (go with it), which sparks a rumor in the town that the band – now called Impaled Rektum – is having a gig. abroad. The concert itself is far from confirmed, but the respect the quartet of misfits suddenly receives is genuine. Turo finds himself having to confront both the group and the lie as things quickly spiral out of control.
Heavy travel does a lot of things beautifully – only someone who’s spent a lot of time with metal bands would write a character like bassist Pasi (Max Ovaska), the purist with an encyclopedic knowledge of rock micro-genres and other riffs. groups. A scene in which guitarist Lotvonen (Samuli Jaskio) takes inspiration to write riffs to the sound of a reindeer carcass mutilated by a meat grinder is absolutely masterful, and the childish and heartfelt joy the band finds in their music is contagious.
Directors Laatio and Vidgren start their film off as a sweet, vaguely surreal comedy about awkwardness and small dreams and gradually turn up the volume, hitting the crunch channel two-thirds of the way. past eleven o’clock and all kinds of chaos have been set in motion, and yet the change in tone has been so gradual that it doesn’t bother. In terms of Taika Waititti, we start to Wild hunt and finish at Thor ragnarok. It’s also a film that wears its influences on its sleeve: It’s the spinal cock is, inevitably, never far from your mind, but there are also softer exterior comedies like Napoleon Dynamite and Moonrise Kingdom, while the craziest finale nods to Young people and particularly, The blue brothers (an influence recognized by a very learned line).
It’s a movie about metal, sure, but a PhD in Megadeth Studies isn’t necessary to enjoy this freaky sympathetic comedy about embracing your dreams and finding your voice. In saying this, the song “symphonic, post-apocalyptic, reindeer crusher, abusing Christ, extreme war pagan, Fennoscandic metal” which becomes the band’s calling card absolutely claps. m /