Fantasia International Film Festival Review For HEAVY TRIP
For fans of Spinal Tap and Anvil: The Story of Anvil, where parody meets reality, where you dream big and rock out, then look no further than Heavy Trip for your next hit of music-based comedy. Written and directed by Juuso Laatio and Jukka Vidgren, Heavy Trip lands on the side of fiction but the dreams of the small town Finnish heavy-metallers feels all too real. Treading familiar ground with the road-trip, pipe-dream, buddy comedy, Laatio and Vidgren have screamed new life into it, taking us on a memorable journey that will leave your ears ringing and your heart warmed.
Set in a small picturesque Finnish town, 4 out-of-place guys balance their mundane jobs with their passion for all things metal. The frontman Turo (Johannes Holopainen) combines cleaning with air-guitar throughout the towns mental institution; the bassist Rankinen (Ville HIska) displays deadpan intensity with full corpsepaint while working in the local library; guitarist Lotvonen (Samuli Jaski) aptly works in his father’s abattoir where the band are allowed to practice; and the passionate drummer Jynkky (Antti Heikkinen) dreams of only one thing – to play in front of an actual crowd. They cannot continue as they are, and things are about to change.
As the band evolve from cover songs to their own intense sound, the story develops far beyond that of just wanting to make it big. Each character has their own motivation for doing so, and the entire town, rightly or wrongly, gets caught up in the hysteria of the band (the name of which I have deliberately omitted), their ambition and the chaos they cause along the way. It’s a wacky comedy, but treated with intense seriousness in places, and it’s this conviction of the cast including the fringe characters really helps elevate this comedy to dizzy heights of ridiculousness.
Much like the music created, Heavy Trip hit the screens at a frenetic pace. It’s over before you know it, but unlike many comedies, it doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. Each joke is well placed and each glance carefully executed. It brings together all the best parts of a hapless aspirational music comedy with unpredictable, highly improbable road trip antics. I expect Heavy Trip to do very well once it hits the VOD platforms. It’s been very well received on the festival circuit, but at its core, it’s a buddy comedy best watched with your friends; whether you’re into the heavy metal, grave-robbing, Viking escapades or just enjoy the Finnish scenery, Heavy Trip has something for everyone.
Thanks for reading. Review + words by Mark Blakeway Follow him on Twitter: @movieblort