Häjyt (1999)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Black Comedy, Crime Comedy  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - Finland   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Gönül Dönmez-Colin

Hajyt is a film about friends who have a hard time finding their place in society. The story is set in the 1990's but it is based on the most famous Finnish criminal legend of the 1800's about two criminals who held their hometown in terror. The Finnish word for these kinds of criminals is "hajyt," which means "evil." The "hajyt" borrowed farm-owners' horses without permission, drank heavily, rioted at weddings, and often killed people. Alexi Makela's film presents the legend with black humor, but the characters are realistically portrayed. Antti and Jussi have just been released from jail. While the two were doing time for robbing a bank, their childhood friend Heikki, once a smalltime criminal like Antti and Jussi, has become a lawyer. He decides to help his old friends, who have to start from scratch, but honest work does not bring enough money to cover their debts. The boys start a black market liquor business that proves to be successful. A new police chief is sent to investigate the problem, and even the locals turn against Antti and Jussi, who get increasingly impudent in their business. Jail seems inevitable. The film tries to expose the social mechanisms that create these overage juvenile delinquents. It is violent, although violence is used to serve the story and characters. Samuli Edelman, the star of the film, is a celebrity singer who had to put on considerable weight to fit the role. The film was released in Finland on January 15, 1999 and was a huge success at the box office, breaking all box office records for the decade.



criminal, Finland, hometown, release, society, prison