The Man Without a Past (2002)



Critic Consensus: Kaurismäki delivers another droll comedy full of his trademark humor.

Movie Info

Aki Kaurismaki's The Man Without a Past opens with the title character (Markku Peltola) being savagely beaten. At the hospital he is declared dead, but he sits up and walks out on his own power. He is taken in by a mother and her two sons, discovers an old jukebox that inspires local musicians, and discovers he has skills as a welder. When he becomes unwittingly involved in a bank robbery, and the man is unable to give the police his name, the cops send out feelers trying to figure out the man's … More

Rating: PG (for some violence)
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Aki Kaurismäki
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 7, 2003
Box Office: $0.8M
Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site


as Kaisa Nieminen

as Flea Market Managere...

as Bar Owner

as Shipyard Clerk

as Bank Clerk

as Bank Robber

as Police Inspector

as Investigating Office...

as Ex-wife

as Ovaskainen

as Electrician

as The Salvation Army B...

as The Salvation Army B...

as The Salvation Army B...

as The Salvation Army B...
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Man Without a Past

All Critics (105) | Top Critics (33)

Kaurismaki's movies can tickle you with the briefest of statements, the smallest of gestures.

August 29, 2003
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

At the end of The Man Without a Past, I felt a deep but indefinable contentment.

Full Review… | June 27, 2003
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

A powerful film made with minimal means, it's a story of poor people on the fringes of society, done without sentimentality or condescension but with wicked humor.

Full Review… | June 27, 2003
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Deliciously slow-paced film.

June 19, 2003
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

M's past... is almost an irrelevance, for Kaurismäki's film is really concerned with the possibility of wiping the slate clean and replacing globalised, corporate living with the values of a utopian community of barter and free association.

Full Review… | May 4, 2015
Daily Info

What sets this film apart from other quirky adventures is its internal coherence (both in terms of storytelling and visual style) as well as the humanity of its characters.

Full Review… | February 20, 2005

Audience Reviews for The Man Without a Past


Slow and dry, this Finland-set dramedy and its amnesiac protagonist seem to be searching for meaning along with the audience. It's a challenging watch, especially for those who know little about the local culture, but there remain moments of universal humor, warmth, and melancholy that overpower Kaurismaki's alienating idiosyncrasies.

Sam Barnett
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer

The Man Without A Past raises a question, "what would make a changed better man?" A rather odd but interesting lovely story that delineates past, present, and future. Vivid, subtle characters blessed with sincere humanity and profound personalities. Hilarious. Brilliant. Compelling.

Jan Marc Macababayao
Jan Marc Macababayao

Super Reviewer


Great dialogue, interesting story and all that...but it just felt meh. It's a bit too dry for my tastes

Idrees Khan
Idrees Khan

Super Reviewer

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