Vares Retrospective Part V: Vares – Sukkanauhakäärme (2011)

At the fifth film in the Vares series, this is one of the few points during this retrospective where we’d be at risk to repeat ourselves somewhat. When it comes to style, mood, humor and how interesting it is to watch, Sukkanauhakäärme (Garter Snake) is pretty much midway between the two previous flicks in the series, with which it was filmed back to back in 2011 (still one more movie was filmed at the same time – Kaidan tien kulkijat). Sukkanauhakäärme is more serious, and slightly more boring, than Huhtikuun tytöt, but it still has a bit more crunch and a little less boring old scandikrim feeling than Pahan Suudelma.

It is not quite as dark as some of the other “heavier” films, and it has some pretty bad ass and/or funny villains, but it is definitely on the less quirky side. As stated above, regarding repeating ourselves, we could just reiterate the strong and weak points of the previous two movies. It has a few advantages over the previous ones. First of all, it throws in a little extra personal drama around Vares and his relationship to taxi driver and pole dancer Anna, if you like that sort of thing. Far more important is the fact that we are now thoroughly acquainted with the characters – as previously noted, Antti Reini has now become Jussi Vares for real. This hides the other shortcomings of the film, annoying as they may be at times.

Last but not least, the story is extra convoluted and amusing this time around. The film starts with a rather unpleasant man looking to find evidence that his wife is cheating on him with a concert pianist called Lobo. As usual, or rather far more than usual, the plot detonates into a complex circus of drug trade, sex, prison breaks and Hollywood style suspense scenes. There’s quite a bit of action involved as well, not least in the ultra tense and somewhat comical final scenes.

This one is brief, since there is not really much to say that hasn’t already been said. After this, the ride will get considerably more bumpy. Next time we will have a look at the film which in this reviewer’s opinion marks the low point in the Vares series, wherafter things take off in directions both new and old.

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