I have to admit, I've seen little Finnish cinema in the past; a lot more Swedish and Norwegian. But The Wait is undoubtedly worth the wait (Pardon the pun.). It's a slow - burning drama from director Aku Louhimies, who is apparently quite experienced and who co - wrote this movie along with lead actress Inka Kallén, adapting it from a very well known nineteenth century Finnish novel.
The Wait is not a great movie, but it is a very interesting one for anyone like me, who is keen on seeing more Finnish product. For a start, the summer coastal scenery is just stunning, with the whole movie being set on an unnamed, underpopulated island off the coast, accessible by ferry. Elli (Kallen) lives there along with her preacher husband Mikko. The congregation of his decidedly progressive church as a whole seem to be mostly made up of thirty somethings (unrealistically I'd suggest),bent on having a good time while on their island paradise. Elli and Mikko seem to have a very satisfying marriage, which somewhat predictably suffers some tremors, with the arrival of Phd student Olavi, an old bestie of Mikko's. But seemingly unknown to Mikko, also an old flame of Elli's, who in the past dumped her; an act we find out, she never quite got over.
It's kind of amusing reading other reviews here, which complain, The Wait has no story. Indeed it has a very clear story, but one that isn't filled with reams of dialogue and exposition. Elli initially appears to be a traditional house wife, content to carry out domestic duties such as cooking, cleaning and supporting her husband further with her presence at church, even though we sense she doesn't hold anywhere near as strong religious beliefs. We gradually learn however she is a fiercely independent woman in her own right, who has in the past trod her own definite path in life and who intends to keep doing so in the future. It becomes clear there will be some sort of reckoning between her and Olavi and the suspense comes in attempting to determine how this relationship will impact her marriage.
Inka Kallen in the central role carries the picture on her shoulders and does an excellent job, considering as I mentioned, she doesn't have the large amount of dialogue, that one might expect in a film of this nature. But she is marvellously expressive at communicating her inner self and feelings with her body language and facial impressions. The supporting cast are all very competent.
Without spoiling, I'd like to say, that I appreciated the conclusion in The Wait. It teases moments of melodrama, but deftly avoids tipping over the edge into a morass of standard outcomes. The ending is very satisfying and quite realistic in the context of what has preceded it in this very worthwhile film.