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Ariel

Director:  Aki Kaurismäki
Year Released:  1988
Rating:  3.0

Part two of Kaurismäki's "Proletariat" trilogy once again reveals miserable working-class conditions in Finland and ends in the same way as Shadows in Paradise: getting a slow boat out of town. A gruff blue collar worker (Turo Pajala, who looks a bit like Colin Ferrell) seeks a better life for himself, so he takes his money out of the bank and sets out for adventure, but he suffers indignity after indignity: he gets mugged and has his money stolen, he can't afford shelter, he gets arrested for beating a man who deserved to be beaten. What saves this from being too dour is the performance by Pajala - no matter what happens, he picks himself up, lights a cigarette and forges on. He doesn't register misery; he doesn't feel sorry for himself. He just clobbers a prison guard (in the most simple jail break I've probably seen in the movies), robs a bank, shoots two gangsters and goes to Mexico. And why the hell shouldn't he?

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