Sunday, November 1, 2009

What Became of Us Movie Review

What Became of Us/Mitä meistä tuli (2009) is a dramatically thrilling independent film from Finland. You will be immersed in this movie with its unique and multifaceted characters, amazing cinematography, and profoundly moving storyline.

We are introduced to the main characters at around age 10 during one day at school that has lasting affects on their lives. While Jake and Toni walk to school, Pelle begins the arduous task of retrieving his backpack after bullies threw it into a locked stair case. Jake and Toni are best friends and chat about how they see the future; Toni to live a life of crime to make a wage as Jake wishes for love with his crush, Erika. Arriving at school Jake and Toni help Pelle down as he dangles helplessly when trying, unsuccessfully, to get his bag. In class they all receive rings for graduation that Jake in Erika will later exchange. When Pelle receives his ring he is ridiculed by the class bullies and Erika promptly pushes them to the floor and spits on them. The teacher is concerned but powerless about how much Pelle is picked on. At the end of the day Pelle is being chased by the bullies, the teacher is walking out of the school, and Erika and Jake are walking down the hall after exchanging rings. An event gets the teacher's attention and he goes running across the school grounds; his expression is one of shock that resonates with Jake and Erika as they look through the door at what unfolded.

Flash forward about 20 years later and we find Erika and Jake living together; although not a couple, and Toni is in jail for reasons no entirely clear to them. They will soon be picking up Toni and heading on a class reunion cruise. During the trip there the story unfolds with a feverous pace. The lives led to this point are wrought with hard times but always have the hopes of happiness. A glimpse is given of a disturbed man in a mental hospital we have yet to be introduced to.

10 out of 10 - What Became of Us is an extremely well done film with staying power; even the music is great!. The flawless acting and direction fill this film with love, secrets, hate, compassion, despair, honor, regret, friendship, and even some laughs. Starring Olli Similä, Miika Ullakko, Maria Uusikylä, and Jere Laukkanen; directed and written by Miika Ullakko; produced by Tianyi Pan. I am very happy to have had the opportunity to watch this film and hope it gets released in the US soon. If you would like to see it with the hopes of a DVD release demand it
here.