Friday, 8 April 2016
Big Game (5 Stars)
This is a film that has an epic feeling without being an epic. Everything about it feels larger than life. It can be called the Finnish film industry's coming of age film. What I mean is, Finland's films have had a bad reputation for years. They've been hampered by poor budgets, not allowing special effects to do justice to the extravagant action and science fiction stories. "Iron Sky" was a valiant attempt to make a memorable Finnish film, but it was too camp to gain widespread popularity. "Big Game" was made with a budget of $10 million, making it the most expensive Finnish film ever. It's easily accessible by having credible action, and it manages to retain a truly Finnish character.
It's a tale of two men who could hardly be more different. Oskari is a 13-year-old from a remote village in northern Finland. William Moore is the President of the United States. Oskari has to spend 24 hours alone in the mountains to hunt wild game to prove he's a man. By all accounts he's weak, and not even his father has faith in him that he can catch anything. President Moore is the most powerful man in the world, but when Air Force One is shot down over Finland he finds himself powerless to defend himself. The inept hunter and the stranded president become friends, fleeing from terrorists who want to kill the president.
"Big Game" shows off Samuel L. Jackson's considerable talent. He isn't just the loud-mouthed actor that we see in "Snakes on a Plane". He can also play intelligent, sensitive roles. The child actor Onni Tommila, barely 14 at the time the film was made, shows remarkable talent as the film's lead actor.
It was interesting to discover that the film was shot entirely in Germany. The director said that districts in Finland have either mountains or forests, but not both together. In order to be able to shoot the whole film in one place they had to go to Bavaria. That seems very strange to me. There was really no suitable location for filming in Finland? Maybe my Finnish readers can comment on this.