SXSW Review: Heavy Trip

While I’m admittedly more of a punk fan, I’d be lying if I didn’t say metal holds a special place in my heart. There’s something to be said to the energy and commitment to being metal. It also, as such, really lends itself well to comedy like with Metalocalypse and as such I was very excited going in to Heavy Trip out of Finland. Follow after the jump to find out what I thought of this heavy metal journey!

Heavy Trip focuses on a group of friends that have a metal band in a small town in Finland. This band, though, has no name and has never written their own song, nor performed outside of the basement of a reindeer slaughterhouse. Their lead singer Turo (Johannes Holopainen) is our main character who is constantly harassed around town for his long hair, and for his pining after the flower shop girl Miia (Minka Kuustonen). He has a sort of rivalry for her love with popular local lounge singer Jouni Tulkku (Ville Tiihonen) and he feels he can’t beat him since his band has gone nowhere. That all changes when they decide to write a song and name themselves Impaled Rektum and then have a run in with the Programming Director for the hottest metal festival in Norway.

From there I unfortunately have to get into one of the biggest shortcomings of Heavy Trip, which is unfortunately in the plot structure. It starts out strong with interesting enough characters and some good metal humor. But then it kind of just lingers in the town and takes until the last 45 minutes or so to actually get on the titular trip, and honestly that’s where some of the best moments are. That’s not to say nothing happens in the interim, and there are still some strong moments, but by the third hitch in their plan to get to the festival you do really just want to get to the trip. A highlight of the time in town is actually prep for the trip when they need to try and steal back their death trap of a van, and I honestly just felt that could’ve come up earlier. When it shifts gears to the trip with an international conflict the likes of Stripes the film really feels like it hits its stride. I know it’s been in the process of being made for a few years, so I just wish a bit more of the fat of the script could be cut.

I don’t want it to sound like I’m negative about the film because generally there is a lot to like, and the cast is a big part of that. Holopainen for instance as Turo is great and plays up the character’s insecurities at the start, and really shows his transitions and growth throughout. Kuustonen is a pleasant ray of sunshine in this dreary town the film is primarily set and really balances off Turo and works wonderfully as his motivation. One of my favorites is Tiihonen as Jouni because he is such a wonderfully sleazy character that he is a joy every time he is on screen as a foil to our heroes. I felt the rest of the cast really didn’t get enough time to fully develop, but they all really add some great color and life to the story.

Rating: 3.5/5

Reelization:

The film is certainly flawed and I really feel could’ve been trimmed down, but I still had a really fun time with it. If you’re a bigger metal fan than me I think it will definitely have a lot more of the jokes that I didn’t get perfectly in line for them. Otherwise it’s a fun movie I recommend checking out if you’re a fan of films that aren’t from America as it’s a nicely different sense of humor than our own.

About Ben

Ben Glasthal is a film student who loves to write and edit videos as well as stories and blogs. Ben was born in Boston, MA and lived on the South Shore of Massachusetts for 10 years before moving to Dallas, TX. While living in Dallas, TX, Ben found a passion for video production from courses and high school and decided to study it in college as well. After 3 years, on and off, at the University of North Texas, Ben relocated to Austin, TX to finish his degree at ACC and to look for production work. Ben is kind of a massive nerd and when he’s not watching movies or TV he’s reading comics or playing video games on his PC or Xbox.