The Marshal of Finland

The Marshal of Finland

Bad. The premise (the life of Finnish military commander & president C. G. E Mannerheim transposed to Kenya) is admirably wacky, but the movie doesn't have the balls to be provocative or trashy enough to become interesting. You get the feeling that being able to pay local cast & crew less than what the interns operating the coffee machines at YLE get was less of a convenient side effect and more the entire point of the project.

It's everywhere, really. Details like the sets and the costumes being all contemporary and the baby scene being so cheap it literally doesn't even have baby SFX, let alone a real baby, project an overwhelming image of the only guiding aesthetic principle being "how can we save more money". The zero-budget production only beats Nostalgia Critic sketches by the virtue of being all shot on location; neither the horrors of war nor the splendor of the aristocracy are captured, making its portrait of a character whose life was largely defined by those two things incessantly hollow.

To the film's credit, it recognizes this and attempts to spin its tale into the story of an everyman – who amongst us hasn't received lots of medals and engaged in some adultery and domestic violence #MarskiGrindset – but doing so comes at the cost of giving up all sense of specificity. All the fun episodes in Mannerheim's life (being kicked out of cadet school for being too gay, the open-world video game adventures in Mongolia, the birthday party incident that produced the only unofficial recording of Hitler speaking) are skipped, and the protagonist becomes a completely interchangeable soldier–womanizer devoid of any controversy, ambiguity, and complexity associated with the real historical figure. It shouldn't be this difficult to make a compelling Mannerheim movie, especially if it isn't pure hero worship and carries a semi-comedic tone in spite of rarely being amusing!

Anyway, giving this exploitative, badly put together trash one (1) star because the lead actor looks remarkably like a Kenyan version of Mannerheim. Hope he returns in Mannerheim: Into the Marski-verse.

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