Are there any fans of symphonic post-apocalyptic reindeer-grinding Christ-abusing extreme war pagan Fennoscandian metal in the house? No? Well, this movie may very well change that.
Heavy Trip is a new Scandinavian film about Turi, a Finnish nursery home worker who is the frontman of a heavy metal band in his spare time. He decides to take his group to the hottest metal festival in Norway. The only problem? They have practiced 12 years without ever playing a single gig, and Turi has a severe case of stage fright.
On the one hand, this is a goofy comedy and a great one at that. There are plenty of slapstick scenes that are hilarious. Some of the dialogue is also quite funny, with solid one-liners sprinkled throughout. However, the film does feel somewhat old-fashioned. There were tinges of homophobia and misogyny at points, both of which make the movie seem dated.
In another way, the film also has an emotionally-rich, character-driven story. Turi is very likable, and his rags-to-riches story is highly compelling. His arc is solid, giving the movie an overall positive message and a character which the audience can support. He is a mixture of the hero archetype and the lovable fool archetype, which works well.
The supporting characters are also great. The most interesting is probably Pasi/Xytrax, who is one of the primary sources of comedy in the film. He makes the movie crazier and funnier. Other supporting characters, like Jynkky, give the film more emotional grounding. All of the characters, though, complement Turi well, making him even more rounded.
That being said, the film’s pacing is odd. It takes almost an hour for the story to get to the significant conflict teased by the synopsis, and since the movie is only an hour and a half long, that’s a very long buildup. While the whole film is enjoyable, the last half hour ends up feeling very rushed. At this point, the balance of comedy and drama shifts almost entirely to the comedy side as the story begins to go over-the-top.
The film’s execution is pretty good. There are two or three scenes that are a bit rough because of low-quality practical effects and/or CGI, but most of the rest of the movie looks impressive. The cinematography is excellent, with some interesting shots and camera tricks used throughout. The film’s costumes are unique, too, especially that for Xytrax.
Additionally, the movie’s music is solid. Even though the lyrics are almost unintelligible (that’s metal for you), the rhythms of the music are great. There is only one original song, which, although quite unusual, is very creative and has a very memorable hook.
Apart from a few issues with pacing and CGI, Heavy Trip is a good film. Because of its absurd humor, it seems like something that will be able to achieve a cult following in the future.
Heavy Trip is now playing in select theaters and is available on VOD beginning October 12.