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Simon Read [Celluloid 04.23.19] Denmark comedy

A charming and frequently surreal indie metal-head road comedy from Finland, Heavy Trip is so loaded with jokes that it’s impossible not to take something away from it, even if it's just a smile. I am not a metal fan, but I imagine that if one were the in-jokes and musical riffs would work even better. As it is, and even with the subtitles, this is a fine example of a joyful musical road movie, with antlers.

Turo (Johannes Holopainen) is a young black metal fan who fronts his owns band, 'Impaled Rektum', with three friends. Despite being experts at covering their favourite bands' music, they have yet to write an original song. When a music festival producer from Norway arrives in town they become determined to create their own music and impress him – hoping to get a spot at his prestigious metal festival and make a name for themselves.

Heavy Trip is essentially angst-free, goofy fun. It’s a film in which a character will die unexpectedly and yet still participate in crowd surfing despite being inside their coffin. The main antagonist is a sleazy lounge singer with a hideous moustache. There are Vikings, and a bazooka, spectacular projectile vomiting and accidental self-immolation. This is not a film to be analysed, it’s one to watch with friends when slightly drunk.

Writer/directors Juuso Laatio and Jukka Vidgren do a good job of keeping things fast and light, creating fun visual gags and parodies (Risky Business, Spinal Tap, Blues Brothers) most of which hit their targets. Often subtitles can be an issue for comedies when delivery is so crucial, and occasionally a line will fall flat, but for the most part Heavy Trip avoids any problems in translation.

The film is about funny people who do and say funny things. I was struck by the fact that the characters are basically happy people too, or at least comfortable with who they are as outsiders. Maybe it's a Scandinavian thing, but it was nice to just see friends on an adventure having a good time when so many modern comedies seem to run on casual cruelty and sarcasm. (I am definitely getting older.)

There is not much else to say, but perhaps it's worth mentioning actor Max Ovaska (the guy on the poster in the KISS makeup), who gives a marvellously deadpan performance.

If you get the chance, I highly recommend this film for ninety minutes of madcap fun and some very loud metal.

Give yourself a treat and check it out.

Recommended Release: Heavy Trip

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