Attack on Finland (2021) Review
Terrorists storm the nation’s capital during their Independence Day celebrations taking hostages that include the President as well as other diplomats and VIPs. The plot for Olympus Has Fallen Again? No, it’s Attack on Finland, (Omerta 6/12 in its homeland), based on the novel “6/12” by Ilkka Remes, the Finnish equivalent of Tom Clancy. And given the current political climate, where better to set an international thriller than Finland?
EJPO operatives Sylvia Madsen (Nanna Blondell, Black Widow, Sisters in Arms) and her partner Markus ‘Max’ Tanner (Jasper Pääkkönen, Vikings, BlacKkKlansman) break into a supposedly empty house in Estonia to get evidence against a Russian cybercriminal Leonid Titov (Juhan Ulfsak, The Last Ones, Tenet). Unfortunately, they got bad intel and as a result, Sylvia ends up shooting and killing Leonid’s young son.
Flash forward a bit and the rather controversial Jean Morel (Zijad Gracic, Wasn’t Afraid to Die, Children of the Fall) an old friend of President Koskivuo (Robert Enckell, Dual, Devil’s Bride) is coming to Finland for the Independence Day ceremonies and Sylvia is assigned to be his bodyguard. When terrorists seize the building she’s trapped inside. And Max is appointed to lead the negotiations. But it soon becomes clear that there are even deeper, and darker, motives to the attack than it first appeared.
Apart from letting us get to know Max and Sylvia and their professional and personal relationship, it also introduces us to Vasa Jankovic (Sverrir Gudnason, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Borg vs. McEnroe) whose father is being held for an unspecified crime he swears he didn’t commit. He’s recruited into the plot by Anya (Nika Savolainen, Goodbye Soviet Union, The Unknown Soldier) but we’re not given any motives or other background, thereby adding more mystery to Attack on Finland’s plot.
And Attack on Finland’s plot, while certainly topical, whether by design or fortunate timing, but nothing new as the involvement of war criminals, cybercriminals, and the Russians all quickly become apparent and disagreements develop between Max and his superiors about how to handle the situation. And equally problematically, disagreements flare up among the hostage-takers as well.
For a director whose list of credits is heavy on drama, Louhimies does a good job of building up the suspense and keeping Attack on Finland tight. Granted a few scenes could have been trimmed back a bit. Longer scenes of soldiers creeping through tunnels and hallways aren’t always better, after a while the tension fades away. He’s said he made some changes to the novel to help him get a handle on it, and while I don’t know what they were they seemed to have worked.
He also does a good job with Attack on Finland’s obligatory car chase, even if the less than Hollywood budget meant it takes place on empty streets rather than weaving in and out of traffic. That’s also the point where Attack on Finland transitions more toward an action film than a thriller. In the final forty-five minutes, Sylvia and Max find themselves in Belarus heading for a showdown with the plot’s mastermind as a web of deceptions and double-crosses start to unravel.
Attack on Finland covers a lot of familiar material, but it does a good job of covering it. The European perspective and the Finnish locations also make a nice change of pace in a genre that usually seems to revolve around an American or an Englishman on a mission somewhere in Eastern Europe.
Samuel Goldwyn Films will release Attack On Finland in theatres and on Digital and VOD platforms on July 1st. You can check their website for more information. And if you need an action fix while you wait, FilmTagger has a few suggestions.