Release Date: June 13th, 2007 (IFC Center) by Strand Releasing.
The Cast: Janne Hyytiäinen, Maria Heiskanen, Maria Järvenhelmi, Ilkka Koivula.
Directed by Aki Kaurismäki.
In Finnish and Russian with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: Koiskinen (Hyytiäinen), a night watchman, meets Mirja (Heiskanen), a sexy blonde who uses him to help her boss (Koivula) plan a heist.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Lights in the Dusk has an initially absorbing plot, but suffers from diminishing tension and low character development. Janne Hyytiäinen, in a deadpan performance, plays Koiskinen, a lonely nigh watchman who speaks very little and only interacts with Aila (Järvenhelmi), a vendor who sells him sausages. If he’s not working, he drinks at the local pub or smokes at a cafe where he meets and flirts with Mirja, a sexy blonde who has her own hidden agenda. While they date, Mirja tries to find out the security codes from him which would allow her boss to steal jewelry. The heist itself seems too simple and unsurprising, though, which makes the plot rather dull. Writer/director Aki Kaurismäki does do a great job of establishing a melancholy mood through cinematography, set design, slow pacing and the musical score. The screenplay lacks the character development and imagination needed for you to care about what happens between Koiskinen and Mirja. It often meanders with barely any suspenseful or compelling scenes, unlike in the recent, brilliant heist film The Lookout. While The Lookout gradually built up tension with its smart plot and kept you interested by its complex main character, Lights in the Dusk has too little imagination to keep you engaged by the plot or its characters.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Dull, meandering, not enough tension and poor character development.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 8
IN A NUTSHELL: Moody and atmospheric, but often dull, meandering with poor character development and an unimaginative plot lacking in tension.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
The "L" Menu