Oct 19, 2007|
Category III. Finnish and English with English and Chinese subtitles. When will cinemagoers finally tire of the revenge-seeking older woman formula? Not soon, if this film is anything to go by. “Black Ice” is a Finnish film about a middle-aged woman who plans to sabotage her husband’s mistress, and it’s finally opening here in Hong Kong two full years after it debuted in northern Europe. The plot seems as though it’s been taken straight out of a daytime soap opera, with its ridiculous storyline and the gleeful, almost sadistic pleasure it takes in doling out punishment to the cheating husband and his young mistress.
The film opens with gynecologist Saara (the award-winning Outi Maenpaa) discovering on her birthday that her husband is having an affair. How does she find out? There are two condoms missing—and they only used one. Saara soon discovers that the other woman is one of Leo’s architecture students, Tuuli (Ria Kataja). Incensed and filled with a desire for revenge, she adopts a false identity to get up close and personal with the younger woman—and the two end up becoming best friends. What follows is a series of clichéd soap opera moments: Surprise pregnancy? Check. Pregnant woman falling down the stairs for no reason? Check. Dumb, naïve mistress? Check. Dumb hot young man falling for older woman? Check. Cheating husband finally deciding that his wife is his one true love? Check.
And that’s the thing about soap operas. At first you hate them, but then you become obsessed. And then, when it’s over, you feel pretty stupid that you’ve wasted your time on some brainless piece of crap—and yet somehow, you want more. Thankfully, this is a European film, so you get pretty sets, elegant cinematography, and no preposterous, over-the-top styling. The two female leads, Maenpaa and Kataja, are both excellent and subtle in their portrayal of the cunning ex-wife and the kind-hearted mistress. But none of this can ultimately save this extended “General Hospital” episode from being a disappointing piece of cinematic work. The bottom line is, if you are looking for a good film to watch, skip “Black Ice”—but if you’re looking to vent your rage against men, this is your film.