A Patriotic Man

"Isänmaallinen mies" has been submitted to the 2014 Seattle Inter- national Film Festival by Finland (English captions). Directed by Arto Halonen, this is the story of a doleful fellow who just happens to have special blood, rich in red blood cells, which is exactly what the Finnish Olympic Ski Team needs in order to bring glory to their often overlooked country. Will he be a patriot or not?

In this acclaimed comedy (nominated for Best Makeup and Best Director - Jussi Awards 2014), we can see that every country gets the hero is deserves. But we also see that this is not quite as funny as we expect because some serious issues come up. BTW, I was amused to see seven Olympic rings at the meet, isn't the symbol five rings? ...just a thought...

We see:
  • Martti Suosalo is Toivo, our patriotic man...or not...who feels that being a jobless drunk is better than just being jobless. The abundant hemoglobin in his blood delivers oxygen to the cells. Untreated, it killed his father in his 40s, but there is an effective treatment now.
  • Pamela Tola is Aino, who skis for the team and needs a bit of a boost. Toivo's O-Positive blood is just the ticket. She is pretty pragmatic about it, which reflects the attitude of her coach.
We hear the rationale for "juicing" which is the same, no matter what the sport, whether it's pro football, Olympic sports, cycling, track and field, or boxing. The main concern is how not to get caught because they know the competition uses performance-enhancing drugs and they want a level playing field.

This is not predictable, and that's a good thing, but it was hard to find someone to root for. Unfortunately that is one of my primary needs when I view a film. And the ending is unsettling.