Ruth Scouller’s review published on Letterboxd:
As a fan of the deliciously deadpan, humanist and air-tight Proletariat trilogy, I was happy to see that Kaurismaki's most acclaimed film was of a similar vein. I didn't particularly like the recent Le Havre, The Man Without a Past is more to my liking. As usual, Kaurismaki's stylistic trinity of muses (Cigarettes, Rock and Outinen) rule the day.
The Man Without a Past is a good encapsulation of Kaurismaki's career. The film says something important about the always-at-hand possibility of a new day, starting anew and living unburdened by the past. Being without a past is not easy mind you, as the film echoes a Christ like story. It reminds of the realist difficulty an angel or alien being would have in just turning up on Planet Earth ("What if God was one of us"). Kaurismaki's characters often navigate a curious dichotomy of finding an almost ascetic (yet deadpan) enjoyment in the simplicity of a spartan lifestyle, as well as living in the moment when the moment calls (often someone entering the protagonists life). Life happens to us, but you can still be positive and proactive about it.
If you enjoyed the Proletariat trilogy, you will find a lot to appreciate here, albeit with more recent Kaurismaki career musings. It's not my favourite of his, but I can see why it was a popular award winner. I'll have to check out the rest of this Finland trilogy.