The Finnish film industry of today is small and aimed for a relatively small language group, thereby allowing little variance on concepts that are known to work: first and foremost, stories usually told by male directors. Miami is a breath of fresh air, a reminder why indie films keep the major industry alive, and most of all, a long-sought voice of female artistry that has been in the sidelines for so long.
Miami is the story of two estranged half-sisters who meet after their father dies. 19-year-old Anna (Sonja Kuittinen) is a shy small town girl who seeks out her older sister Angela (Krista Kosonen), a show dancer, in order to reconnect with her. Angela, a flamboyant artist, invites Anna to join her dance routine, and together they start driving through Finland for gigs. Angela owes a substantial amount of money to extortionist thugs and is in physical peril. Anna starts to implement extortion plans of her own to get the debt paid and to fly off with her sister to Miami, US, their dreamland.
What is wonderful about this film is its complex mood. It is not a “chick flick” by any means even if it has notable similarities to Thelma and Louise, as it is also a road movie, a noir crime drama, a suspense film and a family film. The plot twists are sudden and surprising. The production of the film is striking, as the cinematography leans on 2010s European indie films (with nods to Twin Peaks). The pop soundtrack mixed with varied instrumental music (from church organs to Nordic Noir-ish pianos, sequencers and lush cellos) creates an interesting juxtaposition between the sisters’ fantasy world and the rough wintery sceneries of Finnish nature at its roughest.
The sisters’ relationship is a friendship bordering on co-dependency and even same-sex desire, fraught with taboos and fascination especially from the younger sister’s side. Both are equally stable and unstable: their mutual desire for a family overcomes their defenses and old resentments. At the end, their willingness to sacrifice anything for the other becomes a touching final thought.