The Other Side of Hope: Aki Kaurismäki’s dramedy is certainly full of humanity and empathy at its core, but the straight absurdist tone and particularly the split narrative early on diminishes the experience as a whole. That time is not spent on the relationship of the two central characters, but neither is it used to get to know them. The performances are mostly minimalist, which is the best fit for the tone; the main exception is Sherwan Haji, as if the fact that he is a foreigner justifies his different way of being. Sakari Kuosmanen (the other major performer) and Ilkka Koivula (in a more limited time) are very fine in their deadpan. The musical interludes, so to say, are fine on their own, adding to the mood but not to the storytelling. The retro look of all (cars, clothes, locations) takes the (very much contemporary) story out of time and makes it somehow more universal, fairytale-like.