A MAN APART
starring Vin Diesel, Larenz Tate, Steve Eastin, Timothy Olyphant
screenplay by Christian Gudegast & Paul Scheuring
directed by F. Gary Gray
Mies vailla menneisyyttä
starring Markku Peltola, Kati Outinen, Annikki Tähti, Juhani Niemelä
written and directed by Aki Kaurismäki
by Walter Chaw The one an absurdist sketch, the other just absurd, both Aki Kaurismäki's The Man Without a Past and F. Gary Gray's A Man Apart use violence as a catalyst for existential introspection, but while Gray's emetic excess deadens with its Death Wish-cum-The New Centurions wish-fulfillment fantasy, Kaurismäki's gentle fable finds grace amongst society's victims. Gifting their respective stars each with a hospital scene and subsequent resurrection and new lease on life, the two protagonists are paired with a lady love once back on the street--Kaurismäki's hero with a Salvation Army matron (Kati Outinen), Gray's with a ridiculously loyal partner (Larenz Tate) who discards his role as conscience to become an extension of a revenge plot that's made more ludicrous with a heaping dose of morality and a Lethal Weapon graveside penance.