Markus is talented. He is confident in his talents as a basketball player and plans to make a new life for himself in New York. This is a story of imprisonment. Markus wants nothing more than to escape from his home town in Finland but what he will come to discover is just how difficult it is to break out from such a toxic place. There are not many opportunities in Korso. Even less for someone like Markus who has already dropped out of education and is too lazy to secure a job. Our protagonist spends his days, along with his equally unmotivated friends, causing trouble and wasting away the hours. When Markus turns to a local loan-shark for help, things quickly take a turn for the worse. The first half of the film follows Markus’ day to day life; letting us in on his hopes and dreams. The second half of Korso brings with it some harsh realisations for Markus who is soon to learn how reality sometimes squashes dreams. This is a well constructed movie in which we watch one boy tap on the glass of his fish bowl, peeking out at the sky.
The film is filled with pulsating beats that fit the film’s setting and mood. The score seems as full of angst as Markus, heightening tension and expressing frustration. The film is well acted with performances that are subtle and clever. The plot moves along with no real surprises or shocks. This feels like a story that we’ve seen before but it isn’t worn out yet. Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank is comparable but Korso packs more of a punch. This proved to be a great first exposure to Finnish cinema with its raw nature and aggression. The best quality found in Korso is how divided we are made to feel about Markus. We route for his escape and fresh start but he remains a troublesome, selfish and self destructive child whose lack of education is apparent along with his warped priorities. Korso is fine. It’s not particularly gripping or interesting but it attempts a lot in its entirety. Even if its not the most original or captivating piece of work, it knows its characters inside out and expertly paints them onto the screen for all to see.
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