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An adaptation of Dostoyevsky's novel, set in modern Helsinki. Slaughterhouse worker Rahikainen murders a man, and is forced to live with the consequences of his actions.Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Aki Kaurismäki's narrative directorial debut. He chose this project after reading François Truffaut's interview with Alfred Hitchcock, where Hitchcock claimed Crime and Punishment was the one book he would never adapt, because "it would be to difficult." Kaurismäki later admitted it was too difficult. See more »
[to Eeva Laakso]
I'll tell you something. The man I killed is not important. I killed a louse, and became one myself. The number of lice remained constant. Unless I was one from the very beginning - but that's not important. I wanted to kill a principle, not a man.
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A dour adaptation of Dostoyevski's work - minimalist but also drawn-out for no apparent reason
Kaurismaki's formal debut is a straight-faced drama set in moody Helsinki that is not however particularly engaging and save for a few inspired moments doesn't really have something to recommend it to the casual viewer. The story revolves around a socially disassociated, aloof man working in a meat factory, who one day shows up in the doorstep of an upper class businessman and simply explains that he's there to kill him then shoots him dead. The rest of the film combines a detective thriller (thriller in the mildest sense of the term) and a psychological drama and is largely okay in both departments.
I find Kaurismaki's very basic approach to film-making to be refreshing compared to the cynic, gimmicky cinema of our days that is more content to wink at the audience than take the material it presents seriously. The dialogue is as sparse as the plot is thinly stretched and everything in 'Crime and Punishment' has a very minimalist feel to it. It's rather short, clocking at almost 90 minutes, but after Kaurismaki gets done with the setup and motive and general background of the killer, and this happens around the half mark, he just doesn't have a whole lot of places to go with the rest of the film.
As a debut and an exercise in film-making for the young director it's impressive, but it's also monotonous and very one-note and just not very interesting.
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