An official selection of Cinepocalypse (Chicago: Music Box Theater), where it made its Midwest Premiere.
Every band has dreams of making it. For some it’s getting signed, for some it’s making an album, for others it’s playing a Metal festival in Norway. The band at the center of Heavy Trip, Impaled Rectum, provide the best comedy of the year and one of the best music films in decades.
The four: Turo (Johannes Holopainen), Pasi (Max Ovaska), Jynkky (Antti Heikkinen), Lotvonen (Samuli Jaskio), playing lead, bass, drums, and lead guitar respectively, have practiced in the basement of a reindeer slaughter house for 12 years. They’ve never written a song. And they’ve never played live. The four are an accumulation of every metal cliche you’ve ever heard. Nestled in their Finnish small town they’re a “symphonic postapocalyptic reindeer-grinding, Christ-abusing, extreme war pagan Fennoscandian metal band.” And if that doesn’t tell you all you need to know about this film, then I’ve got nothing.
If the above genre is too mainstream for you nerds, know that Impaled Rectum are the only band in the world that plays this form of Metal. In fact, they invented it themselves when a skinned reindeer with a knife in its ribs got stuck in a shredder. The screeching sound of the reindeer riding off into “reindeer hell” is the type of origin story that Metal bands are made of. Which if the above sounds real to you, it’s not, but very well could be.
In fact, the four soon dupe their small Finnish town into believe the band will have a set on the mainstage of a Swedish Metal festival.
The group’s lead singer, Turo, is the emotional center of the film. Turo is shy, but loyal. He’s purely a guy who doesn’t want to let his friends down. He works at a mental hospital where he befriends Oula (Chike Ohanwe), a violent patient who’s only soothed by the sound of Metal. Turo is also in love with Miia (Minka Kuustonen), a girl working at a flower shop who’s dad is suspicious of the “glue-sniffing hippie” that’s hanging around his daughter. Turo is of little match for the father, and is less capable against Jouni (Ville Tiihonen), a lounge singing playboy who wants to add Miia to his “hit list.”
The closest comps to Heavy Trip is probably Spinal Tap, and surprisingly, The Blues Brothers. However, it has far more heart than the prior. While Spinal Tap is a warning against the gaudy Metal scene of the 80’s, Heavy Trip is the making of that band before their passion was sucked dry by the business.
So while Spinal Tap is full of caricatures that are nearly impossible to relate to on a human level, Heavy Trip is all heart. What’s more empathetic than a group of outcasts pushing for a dream, even if that dream is to play in a parking lot at a festival? In actuality, it might be more empathetic because of that hope. It’s a pure hope. One that we all share: the want to be noticed while doing what we love. And as the band rides in a death van, a clown committed suicide in its front passenger seat before coming into their possession, and they meet Vikings and nearly begin a war at the Finnish/Norwegian border, we root for these four nobodies because we’re those nobodies too (even if we don’t play symphonic postapocalyptic reindeer-grinding, Christ-abusing, extreme war pagan Fennoscandian metal).
And as a patient of Turo once said, sometimes it’s better to just shit your pants rather than be constipated. Heavy Trip is the carefree attitude of shitting in your pants, realizing you’ve done it, and then falling back into a deep peaceful dream.
Heavy Trip will be available for wide release in November.