Like the great films of the 1930's and early 40's, it is at once artful and unpretentious, sophisticated and completely accessible, sure of its own authority and generous toward characters and audience alike -- a movie whose intended public is the human race.
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The revered Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki has hit on a way to give you grim social realism and movie-ish sentimentality in one fell swoop.
Kaurismaki is Finland's greatest filmmaker, and never has he more artfully balanced his patented blend of deadpan humor, low-key melodrama, and toe-tapping music.
A master of minimalism, Finland's Aki Kaurismaki makes films that are so dry, so delicately ironic that they seem on the verge of crumbling in front of us -- but they never do.
This may not be Kaurismäki's masterpiece, but it is a movie of sustained stylistic integrity -- and it has the power to make you laugh.
The Man Without a Past is a modern fairy tale. It certainly is divorced from reality. Despite this -– or perhaps because of it -– it's a satisfying motion picture.
Warm and utterly beguiling fable.
At the end of The Man Without a Past, I felt a deep but indefinable contentment. I'd seen a comedy that found its humor in the paradoxes of existence, in the way that things may work out strangely, but they do work out.
Something in the simplicity of its vision gives The Man Without a Past a dimension of heroic grandeur -- and that effect, too, seems to tickle Kaurismaki's funny bone.
A dour-faced but sublime comedy about the kindness of strangers -- and about the strangeness of people who find themselves in oddball moments of grace.