TIFF 2017 Movie Review: EUTHANIZER (Finland 2017) ***1/2

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2017. Go to TIFF 2017 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

tiff.jpgThe carefully balanced (albeit deranged) life of a freelance, black-market pet euthanizer begins to come apart at the seams in this loopy exploitation-movie throwback from Finland, which evokes the brazen psychological insights and aesthetic brio of such grungy genre classics as Monte Hellman’s Cockfighter and Larry Cohen’s God Told Me To.

Director: Teemu Nikki
Writer: Teemu Nikki
Stars: Alina Tomnikov, Santtu Karvonen, Jari Virman

Review by Gilbert Seah

The EUTHANIZER is Veijo, (Matti Onnismaa), an older man with glasses always smoking a pipe who runs a black-market operation euthanizing people’s ailing pets.

The people who go to Veijo either cannot afford having their pet put down by the local vet or have no guts to perform the killing themselves. Each commission also comes with a brutal lecture, as Veijo spills over with Old Testament–style indignation about what shoddy and appalling people his patrons are and how their pets have been mistreated.

Veijo is in reality an animal lover. When his father is hospitalized, he meets the young nurse caring for him. They begin a strange affair, a bit too uncomfortable, I bet to many an audience’s liking.

He also encounters a seedy garage mechanic, Petri (who’s mixed up with a vicious gang of neo-Nazis) who call themselves ‘Soldiers of Finland’ which provide most of the film’s suspense and thrills.

Veijp’s insight and theory of life is intriguing and serves to propel the difficult to fathom plot. But the film works, as director Nikki has the audience constantly rooting for Veijo in this black comedy of manners.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUr9XQxc2gU

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