2010 Indy Int'l Film FestivalRating: 4 of 5 yaps
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With family comes drama. It’s a subgenre that seems like it can easily become tired but movies like Twisted Roots shows there can always be something new. In this Finnish drama, a family is brought together with news of the father’s disease. Mikko (Pertti Sveholm) has a hereditary disease that causes dementia and hullicinations. He is worried about who will take care of his antique store but also whether he has inadvertently passed on this illness to his children. His struggle is shown creatively through inconsistency with the props. It was such an effective way to show his deterioration and defeated nature.
His youngest daughter, Pihla (Emma Louhivuori), is a teenager who is figuring out her place in the social circles. She is not the typical brat seen in other films, but she properly has the focus of the scene and knows when to engage and when to stay put. It’s one of the more believable teenagers I’ve seen in awhile. Her brother, Sakari (Niko Saarela) is much older and has moved out. He’s frustrated with his father and becomes even more so when he just now finds out that he may be sick as well.
There is one more child in the family: Lumi (Silva Robbins) is a young adopted Chinese girl. She has the weakest storyline in the movie as she is constantly digging a hole in the wall as well as other flights of fancy. It makes for some memorable images in the film, but its quirkiness seems more fitting in another film. Also its resolution is too on-the-nose to seem believable.
The mother (Meri Nenonen) is also filled with secrets. She took on the debt of her deadbeat brother and now owes over 100 Euros in a very short amount of time to the bank. She finds it difficult to consult her husband because his illness makes him an irrational and irritable man.
The movie moves with a well developed pace that allows just the right amount of time with each character. By the end of the film, I really felt I understood each of them. The film really popped when the family members were able to interact awkwardly with each other. With this type of film, I was worried about how it was all going to tie together but the ending is very fulfilling and adds a lot of its themes of legacy and what ties a family.