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Review: 'Breathe' (2017)

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Euthanizer, 2017.

Written and Directed by Teemu Nikki.

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Starring Matti Onnismaa, Jari Virman, and Hannamaija Nikander.

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SYNOPSIS

A man who euthanizes animals as a side job runs afoul of white supremacists.

In spite of its name, cover, and synopsis,

Euthanizer shares little in common with your average thriller, with only the final act of the movie resembling the b-movie revenge thrillers it models its aesthetic after. However, this isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it provides a breath of fresh air in a movie landscape chock full of high-octane revenge flicks.

Euthanizer follows Veijo, a part-time pet euthanizer and all-round weird guy as he goes about his daily routine gassing cats, shooting dogs, and harassing the owners of said cats and dogs. Surprisingly, Veijo is the good guy in the story. Even more surprisingly, he actually comes across as the good guy, despite his career choice. He always ensures that he kills animals humanely, and harangues their owners if they haven’t given their pets a good life (which they nearly always haven’t).

The notion that the film is about Veijo running into trouble with white supremacists is misleading. Really,

Euthanizer is all about the audience coming to terms with Veijo’s morality. He’s an eye-for-an-eye type of person, subjecting abusive pet owners to the same abuse they inflicted on their pets. Sometimes this seems justified, other times it seems petty. Occasionally it gets out of hand, and when it does, it pushes Veijo’s character into a grey area.

It is within this grey area that the film is most successful. Though most audiences will not directly endorse eye-for-an-eye justice, there is a great amount of glee to be taken in watching Veijo lock someone in a dog cage and leave them in a hot car for a while. However, when his anger gets the better of him, his actions become less defensible, as they clearly have a lasting impact. This lasting impact is best represented in Veijo’s relationship with his father, and the half-twist associated with it.

Though the film doesn’t really introduce the conflict with the white supremacists till the latter end of the film,

Euthanizer keeps its plot interesting by introducing new elements to Veijo’s life as the story progresses. He adopts a dog he was supposed to kill, forms a strange relationship with the nurse caring for his father, and gradually loses himself to his own moral code. This spiralling moral code also presents an interesting political message, providing a metaphor for the hypocrisy of many so-called humanitarian organisations and activists, and the shallow, ironically harmful nature of their seemingly good intentions.

These events are mostly shown in a darkly comedic way. There are a handful of funny throwaway lines – the name of his business being my personal favourite – but most of the comedy simply comes from everyone’s seemingly nonchalant and inappropriate behaviour regarding animals. This could not have been achieved without the solid scripting by Teemu Nikki and the casts’ memorable performances.

Despite its steadily progressing story and dark comedy,

Euthanizer never really kicks into fifth gear. There are some emotionally jarring moments, but most of them rely on cliched storytelling devices. As mentioned, the twist involving Veijo’s father is great, but the movie’s tipping point is just a bit too obvious. Moreover, there are moments towards the middle where the character study of Veijo wears a little thin, leaving audiences wanting to see what this strange man will do, rather than just seeing other instances of his strangeness.

All in all,

Euthanizer is a surprisingly nuanced film with some good performances and the occasional whiff of greatness. It’s pacing lets it down a little, and it never really does anything to blow audiences away, but it certainly raises some interesting questions and entertains along the way.

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★

James Turner is a writer and musician based in Sheffield. You can follow him on Twitter @JTAuthor


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Source : https://www.flickeringmyth.com/2018/07/movie-review-euthanizer-2017/

Movie Review – Euthanizer (2017)
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