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BWW Review: FIRST EPISODE OF BAD APPLES (MÄDÄT OMENAT) BARELY WORKS AND HERE'S WHY

Mädät Omenat is a brand new tv-drama on a woman's journey in a sanitorium

BWW Review: FIRST EPISODE OF BAD APPLES (MÄDÄT OMENAT) BARELY WORKS AND HERE'S WHY

Fire Monkey Productions. Actors: Satu Tuuli Karhu, Santeri Kinnunen, Sonja Kuittinen, Armi Toivanen, Marjaana Maijala. Director of First Episode: Marja Pyykkö

The three biggest issues in Finnish TV-productions - or in any, I'd say - are the rush while filming, explaining things through dialogue rather than acting them out / showing in symbolistic actions and lastly haste either in cuts or character portray, in their escalation.

Let's dig deeper (with spoilers)

BWW Review: FIRST EPISODE OF BAD APPLES (MÄDÄT OMENAT) BARELY WORKS AND HERE'S WHY
Santeri Kinnunen's solid actor's work as Gösta Lundsten prevailed my interest

Poor editing

It's very sad to see the hard work that went to the set design, costumes and even the intriguing plot itself, because when watching a finished product of an episode... It's almost that the director has forgotten the fact that if she has developed characters and their stories with the scriptwriter in her head it's a whole different thing to execute them, portray them on screen for the audience.

Show, don't tell, and the least don't assume from the viewer.

The editing and cutting is absolutely horrendous and it frustrates me how the editing has decreased the otherwise fairly good quality and thought behind the series. They are too short and the shots have been planned poorly and dully (excluding very few exceptions), not benefitting of focus points; just simple psychology of where the eyes lay - and most importantly - where they will lay in the next cut.

Let's look at the list written by New York Film Academy of What You Can Learn from Edward Dmytryk's 6 Rules of Cutting

  • Rule 1: Never make a cut without a positive reason - For example the scene where they carried Onerva to the car in the wooden box. The beginning was promising as first shot was of the men coming in and grabbing the box, second of Onerva's rection where we saw her nerviousness. Then the earlier shot continued and we saw the box being carried out, which was good. Then the big picture of how they walked towards the car was also good. But then we got...Ahem... 7 cuts more of carrying her to the car and adding another box. Just no.

  • Rule 2: When undecided about the exact frame to cut on, cut long rather than short

  • Rule 3: Whenever possible cut "in movement"

  • Rule 4: The "fresh" is preferable to the "stale"

  • Rule 5: All scenes should begin and end with continuing action

  • Rule 6: Cut for proper values rather than proper "matches"

The intro does well, for example, when a tear turns into a bird. So why there hasn't been such imagination used in the bigger picture? Not perhaps with such dramatics but with the same thought behind it.

Love me Love me not. Rush in portraying the characters

It all began with a scenery of a girl swinging in a field. Okay, she's the main character Onerva, portrayed by Satu Tuuli Karhu, and the view of her switches between young and her current age.

Okay, Okay.

Then she is kid napped? Screaming? It's a good device, to scream... But to put it straight in the beginning? I don't know.

How about having her soothing voice telling her story of how she doesn't know why she is here and how she ended up in here? Her telling a little about her story while the video imagery would be mute. A big yes from me, but didn't happen.

Showing her terror (big, negative) influences the audience's interpretion of her greatly compared to the begenning's gentle swinging and smiling (small, positive). It's as if the director thought that we're automatically on her side and when she is found captive in a ship, screaming (again, poorly, too shortly cut) Where am I?, it almost brings a comedic take on to it. And because it's not, it just confuses.

The same goes with the character Serafina, portrayed by Marjaana Maijala who is by nature a little lost and poets charmingly (though still oddly, because the area is a sanitarium and that is the interpretation filter too for anything that happens in the series, get it?). Soon after a few turns and twists we hear a deduction from Onerva that Serafina has plans to kill herself. Note: we haven't seen Serafina's journey barely at all or got any connection with her character as she has merely just lingered around. So my first thought was, unfortunately:

Um. Should we care? I'd love to care but I don't.

Bad guidance into the characters and bad preparation brings forth such problems - meaning we don't get connections with them to care if something happens.

BWW Review: FIRST EPISODE OF BAD APPLES (MÄDÄT OMENAT) BARELY WORKS AND HERE'S WHY
Marjaana Maijala as Serafina

Ritva Kalima - a threat or a dork? Nonexistent guidance through other characters

Ritva Kalima, portrayed by Sonja Kuittinen... Again, dear editor and director: is she a threat or just nuts? Her first introduction is that she comes onto Onerva and mumbles "What's that? Maybe a bird", grinning maniacly. But the guard also smiles with her (I only noticed that on this second watch). That tells us that she definitely has some influence and charm over the head of the sanitarium. Okay, fair enough. Then we also see her being a baddie to our new comer. Okay? And then finally when she comes to disturb the dinner... The fear of the other characters is not very believable. Again a little comedic and confusing, as if it was just "directed into it". Ritva's intimidation was not prepared enough through filming her character's status or the very least rumors that would have been spoken about her a little before she encountered the others.

In film and theater alike the audience learns what to think of a character through the other characters in the show - for example how Alaska (Anna-Leena Härkönen) just glanced over the fight at the dinner tells us that the nurses care the minimum of the patients and their fights.

BWW Review: FIRST EPISODE OF BAD APPLES (MÄDÄT OMENAT) BARELY WORKS AND HERE'S WHY
Sonja Kuittinen as Ritva Kalima (behind)

I hope it gets better

Nevertheless I really hope that in the following episodes Bad Apples would slow down its hurry and absorb us into its lure that clearly hides beneath all the fuzz.

What it comes to actor's work in this I believe that many of them, including Satu Tuuli Karhu and Sonja Kuittinen, would have had more to give. It's easily seen that their sometimes awkward work in scenes is the most because of a perhapsed rushed filming schedule. Or lack of directing?

But there, it's in the mini-title: I hope it gets better.

And, Fire Monkey Productions, if you're planning a season Two to be shot next summer, you can always call and hire me as your director's creative assitant.

Humbly yours, I promise.

Article: Rosanna Liuski

BWW Review: FIRST EPISODE OF BAD APPLES (MÄDÄT OMENAT) BARELY WORKS AND HERE'S WHY


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