The Man Without a Past - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Man Without a Past Reviews

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½ January 21, 2018
Helsinkians will love this film a lot. As usual, the endearing humour in Kaurismäki's style is much appreciated.
½ December 9, 2015
Funny film, better if your have an understanding of the Finnish culture. The film is also very touching.
August 4, 2015
Kaurismaki's originality, especially in pacing and cool lines, is in full bloom in this picture. Also, the cinematography, lighting, and the set design is just awesome. High quality in every angle.
March 21, 2015
I remember I did not like "The Man Without a Past".
I have seen this in a cine club a few years ago, we were three friends, none of us had never heard about Kaurismäki before, and I remember we were quite laughing at the unexpressive actors, moving like zombie, rigid, so strange ... wondering if this was on purpose, or if the actors were unable to play. Now I know this is the style of Kaurismaki: a style that I do not like very much, but then the effect was quite comic, and I was not alone, most people in the theater was laughing on supposedly dramatic scenes, and, at the end, my two fellows, quite amused too, knowing that I had visited Finland asked me if Helsinky is the junkyard that it is shown in this movie. Not at all, for sure.
Maybe, if I would try to see this again, I could appreciate a little bit more, but I have so many good movies to see yet, and so little time. And Kaurismaki is not my cup of tea.
½ January 20, 2015
Una historia simple sobre unos personajes marginales contada al peculiar estilo de Aki Kaurismaki, una pelicula inclasificable ahora una de mis favoritas.
June 3, 2014
You can start it all over again even if all your past is erased out. Only you need some kindness of your fellow humans. The story of the film is deceptively simple. Characters are few. You have to love the absurd protagonist through all his predicament, you have to feel for him. There is a very subtle sense of humor which is so much different from the present day Hollywood-style coarse humor. It is a brilliant and unique art-work from the Finnish director, I have to watch the other two films of the trilogy also.
Super Reviewer
½ October 11, 2013
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.
September 20, 2013
Nice movie to watch during lunch, but if I had watched at night I would have probably fallen asleep. A bit too slow and a bit too much smoke... Anyway, the whole concept of the movie and every single character of the movie is very well built.
June 22, 2013
Naturalisic picture about lost past and bulding new future. Dry, full of dirt, minimalistic with droll acting but restoring faith in humanity.
June 10, 2013
A man is beaten to death. Miraculously, he awakens, but finds he has lost his memory. This leads him to life in a small poverty stricken community, where he re-discovers the simple pleasures of life and love. Eccentrically deadpan, Kaurismakis's film is impressively ambiguous and daunting. The visuals are exceptional and the plot too is quite gripping to the point of being addictive.
June 3, 2013
One of the best I have seen in recent times..just felt so much watching this, like reading a great novel. Masterpiece!
May 8, 2013
This was my first time seeing a movie by the Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismaki, but I think I can see why he's relatively popular (as Finnish filmmakers go, anyway). This is an extremely wry, deadpan comedy - so poker-faced that many people might not even notice it's a comedy. It's a small-scale film about sad people in a sad place, but it's somehow very funny.

The story is pretty simple: we see a man (Markku Peltola) get off the train somewhere and go sit on a bench. Then he is abruptly beaten nearly to death with a baseball bat by some random thugs. He's declared dead at the hospital, but then gets up and walks out. He has no memory whatsoever of who he is, but somehow ends up moving into the local outcast community, nearly all of whom live in storage containers by the shore. He strikes up a relationship with a lonely Salvation Army worker (Kati Outinen) who's almost as bad off as he is. And that's pretty much the movie.

Like I said, everything about this movie is utterly deadpan, especially the performances. Peltola's performance is interesting - you can't really say the character is especially likable and sympathetic, but then that's because he can't remember what kind of a person he was. He's neither friendly nor mean because he can't remember which he is supposed to be. So he's just kind of there, existing. Outinen is also quite good as Irma, the Salvation Army worker. All of the characters speak and act in very flattened, almost depressed ways - they're kind of like the characters in a Wes Anderson movie, only more so. The camerawork just tends to regard them neutrally.

Like I said, the movie is indeed a comedy. The characters keep finding themselves in ridiculous situations, but since they don't react in the way we've been trained to expect characters to react to such things, the humor of it all might slip by some viewers. It's a minimalist film that doesn't harp on its own minimalism. There's also a genuinely strange beauty to the film's locations. It feels like an "acquired taste" sort of thing, so I can't guarantee you'd like it. But I did.
January 13, 2013
Utterly charming. In a similar vein to Le Havre.
December 18, 2012
Ja mitähän ihmiset (=kriitikot) Aki näissä Kaurismäen leffoissa näkee? Kaikki näyttelijät näytti siltä kuin olisivat lukeneet vuorosanansa suoraan paperista koko leffan ajan. Ainoa valonpilkahdus oli Antti Reini, joka vilahti ruudussa 15 sekkaa.
December 7, 2012
Could be worthwhile, will see.
November 10, 2012
Awesome film with full of atmosphere! Awesome and personal dialogue, great soundtrack and camera working is great. Many American filmmakers should learn from this one! It beats many films easily! Absolutely one of the greatest Finnish films ever!
August 3, 2012
El segundo capítulo de la "trilogía finlandesa" de Kaurismäki es un nuevo canto a los desheredados. En la presentación de su película de 2006, "Luces al atardecer", el realizador afirmaba jocoso que "Finlandia es el país más rico y feliz de la tierra". Ironía malsana y cruel si nos acercamos a su filmografía.

En "Un hombre sin pasado", el protagonista es apaleado y despojado de todo, incluyendo su nombre y su memoria. A partir de aquí es acogido por una pareja de indigentes y ayudado por el ejército de salvación. En este entorno encontrará el amor a la vez que irá tratando de reconducir su vida. Kaurismäki denuncia el abismo social entre clases y el árido camino vital de los sin techo aunque a la vez se preocupa de dignificar la miseria. El hogar del protagonista, un contenedor de mercancías abandonado, es el mejor símbolo de esta idea, así como las ropas que consigue en un almacén de caridad. Ambos elementos poseen una dignidad extraña que enlaza con la no-actuación de unos personajes hieráticos y carentes de emoción. Así todo parece tan aséptico e indoloro como la idiosincrasia nórdica que late en cada plano y en cada frase.

En la película no todo es pesimismo. Es cierto que el peso de los requerimientos sociales parecen aplastar por momentos a un protagonista que, no lo olvidemos, no tiene nombre. No puede por tanto abrirse una cuenta bancaria, no puede encontrar un trabajo y no puede colaborar con la policía cuando le exigen que se identifique. Aún así, este hombre condenado a vivir al margen es capaz de crear esperanza a su alrededor, ya sea a través de la música o de su paso firme hacia delante. Al fin y al cabo no tiene nada que dejar atrás. Esa es su tragedia y su esperanza. Empezar de nuevo, aun desde lo más bajo, sin deudas que saldar, sin culpas, sin miedos.
½ August 1, 2012
My second Aki-flick and this one is just as good as "Ariel", if not even better. It's very, very funny and fittingly dramatic, tragic and still simple and minimalistic. It's never boring and it will make you smile since it has one of the funniest scripts I've witnessed lately. Many great one liners, ten or more fantastic lines and moments. The pace is light, the setting is whimsical and the humour is dry - in a good way. It's a bit Jarmusch-like in many ways, still it's got that great Aki-look and he's starting to become one of my favorite directors.
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