The Man Without a Past (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

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 identity. Soon his wife appears. The Man Without a Past was screened at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival where it was awarded the Grand Prix, the most storied prize after the Palme D'Or.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


Kaija Pakarinen
as Kaisa Nieminen
Annikki Tähti
as Flea Market Managere...
Anneli Sauli
as Bar Owner
Elina Salo
as Shipyard Clerk
Outi Mäenpää
as Bank Clerk
Esko Nikkari
as Bank Robber
Pertti Sveholm
as Police Inspector
Perlti Swehoim
as Investigating Office...
Aino Seppo
as Ex-wife
Antti Reini
as Electrician
Marko Haavisto Ja Po...
as The Salvation Army B...
Jouni Saario
as The Salvation Army B...
Jukka Teerisaari
as The Salvation Army B...
Jyrki Telila
as The Salvation Army B...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Man Without a Past

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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