Olavi (Heikki Nousiainen) is a dumpy art dealer who has an equally dumpy art shop. He is therefore, by association, a member of the Helsinki art intelligentsia who have varying degrees of looks and sliminess. But this is a movie after all which shows someone shaking up his life. And the person responsible for that is Otto (Amos Brotherus). Otto is his estranged grandson with a misdemeanor who needs work credits to pass high school. Olavi reluctantly takes the boy in, but the latter eventually comes in handy. He runs into a painting without a signature that he’s sure is an Ilya Repin masterpiece. Young people like Otto, after all, have great research skills and a savings account. Those things might help Olavi’s business finally get a profit.
There’s some surprisingly interesting visuals here. Audiences can see that through the occasional surveillance footage that adds texture to the movie’s foreground. We also see the best side of Helsinki through the art world. Bur we also see the iconic industrial spaces that we’ve already seen in Kaurismaki films. These facets have an honesty, revealing Finland’s inferiority complex that the characters feel. Director Klaus Haro almost sandbags his film with that sentimental ending though. It reverses the tension he built up in the first two acts. These penultimate scenes have one coincidence after another that convinces Olavi to do the right thing. But that’s what we want after all. Nousiainen is a powerhouse here, adding complexity to a character we root for.