Today I’ve something a little different. I’m a huge fan of Orenda Books and two of the latest novels to be published by them are The Exiled and The Mine. To celebrate the publication of both of these books the authors, Kati Hiekkapelto and Antti Tuomainen, decided to have a chat between themselves about their favourite crime films and they let us sit in on the discussion.
Favorite Crime Films
Kati Hiekkapelto & Antti Tuomainen (both translated by David Hackston)
Antti: Hi Kati, I thought we’d talk about something that often comes up when crime fiction writers meet and talk: movies. And I thought we’d narrow it down a bit and discuss our favorite crime films. And I don’t think they even have to be all-time favorites, let alone classics, just crime films that, for some reason or other, have stuck to mind. I will begin from the beginning.
One of the first crime films I saw – that I understood to be one – was Sam Peckinpah’s Getaway. Based on Jim Thompson’s book, of course, it stars Steve McQueen, his pump-action shotgun and Ali McGraw. Powerful stuff, especially when you’re around 13 or so. Do you have any ‘first’ movie memories?
Kati: I remember that we had a small black and white TV when I was a child. My parents watched the Charlie’s Angels series every Saturday evening and didn’t allow me to join them. I was too small and innocent for that terribly violent and scary series, they thought. But I was watching it secretly via the reflection that the TV made on the window. I pretended to go into my bed and then sneaked quietly to the doorway where I could see that reflection. I followed the whole series like this and I was definitely not badly traumatised! Maybe I should confess this to my mum … after all these years. My first powerful film memory is Ben Hur. It is not a crime film but it was the first I ever went to see in cinema without my parents. I think I was about 11. But the first real crime fiction film … hmmm … I don’t have any idea what that could have been. My explanation for this will come a bit later!
Antti: For some reason, I find many crime films from the 1970s rank among my favourites. Films like Coppola’s The Conversation (Gene Hackman is brilliant), Arthur Penn’s Night Moves (Gene Hackman again), Marathon Man (with Dustin Hoffman, script by William Goldman), Pakula’s Parallax View, even Polanski’s Chinatown (Faye Dunaway and some bloke), to name a few.
Maybe some of it is due to my being born in 1971 and growing up with both my mum and dad liking films very much, and being introduced to all these films early on. Or maybe not. It could be that these films all have strong storytelling with very few special effects. It’s just story, nothing but story. Do you have any special period that you look upon with special fondness or remembrance?
Kati: I think I don’t. I have never been a real film freak. Actually you could actually say that I suffer from film dementia! I forget the names of the films, directors and actors, no matter how much I liked them. I’m pretty bad at this and it is so embarrassing! I go to cinema every now and then and watch something from Netflix occasionally. I didn’t have a TV in my apartment when I moved away from my parents’ house, so I missed out on a lot. But I agree with you that there are excellent movies from the 70s. I loved The Godfather, Chinatown and Taxi Driver (Woo hoo, I remembered the names!). There is something special about films made during that time, something raw and unembellished that we don’t often see nowadays.
Antti: Recently I’ve noticed that I’ve started to lean towards films in the genre or in the mood of the Coen Brothers’ Fargo which I’ve seen numerous times: dark noir stories with some humour of the darkest sort. There is a great film called A Simple Plan (based upon a novel of the same name by Scott B. Smith). Just as the name of the film suggests, it starts with a simple plan: after finding a huge sum of money, you just keep it. Of course, it doesn’t work that way. It’s a fantastic story with brilliant actors. Billy Bob Thornton is unforgettable. Recent favourites, relatively new ones, include Nightcrawler (Jake Gyllenhaal is chilling), The Departed (okay, it’s a remake and a few years old, but still great), Michael Clayton and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Sidney Lumet directed this at 83!). Have you seen anything good lately?
Kati: I’ve been more into series lately. Or maybe I always have been. Adaptations of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple are just fantastic to watch again and again. I really liked new Sherlock Holmes, too. I think the best crime series come from the UK. They are stylish and very well done. The Shetland series was absolutely amazing. Now I’m following American series called The Affair, which is not a pure crime story but has crime subplot cleverly knitted into it. It is disturbing series to watch, not something that makes you feel happy; however, it really hooks you in. Interestingly, the story is through two/four different characters, and each episode shows event from the perspective of two different people. And even when they talk about the same day or week, the same happenings, the things they experienced together, it feels like it is a completely different story every time. It’s the structure that is familiar to me from many Nordic Noir books and it has made me to think a lot about ‘remembering’ – a very philosophical AND also a very personal thing (and I don’t mean my ‘film dementia’).
We could also discuss Nordic crime series and films, many of which are super, super good, but perhaps we should leave our own genre out this time. Without even mentioning Finnish crime adaptations. Is there such a thing? Of course there is, I’m just joking. But for some reason there has not been super hit from Finland. Yet!
Tweet Kati (@hiekkapeltokati) and @antti_tuomainen with YOUR favourites!
About the books:
“Murder. Corruption. Dark secrets. A titanic wave of refugees. Can Anna solve a terrifying case that’s become personal?
Anna Fekete returns to the Balkan village of her birth for a relaxing summer holiday. But when her purse is stolen and the thief is found dead on the banks of the river, Anna is pulled into a murder case. Her investigation leads straight to her own family, to closely guarded secrets concealing a horrendous travesty of justice that threatens them all. As layer after layer of corruption, deceit and guilt are revealed, Anna is caught up in the refugee crisis spreading like wildfire across Europe. How long will it take before everything explodes?
Chilling, taut and relevant, The Exiled is an electrifying, unputdownable thriller from one of Finland’s most celebrated crime writers.”
“A hitman. A journalist. A family torn apart. Can he uncover the truth before it’s too late?
In the dead of winter, investigative reporter Janne Vuori sets out to uncover the truth about a mining company, whose illegal activities have created an environmental disaster in a small town in Northern Finland. When the company’s executives begin to die in a string of mysterious accidents, and Janne’s personal life starts to unravel, past meets present in a catastrophic series of events that could cost him his life.
A traumatic story of family, a study in corruption, and a shocking reminder that secrets from the past can return to haunt us, with deadly results … The Mine is a gripping, beautifully written, terrifying and explosive thriller by the King of Helsinki Noir.”