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The Cuckoo

4.8 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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(Dec 02, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

September 1944, in a land torn apart by war, a Finnish sniper is labeled a coward by his compatriots; as punishment, he is nailed to a rock and left to his own devices. Not long after, a disgraced Russian Captain, en route to his court martial, is injured in an accident. Both men are about to find out they have one thing in common. Wounded and emotionally tortured, they are taken in by Anni, ayoung, resourceful war widow, who offers shelter to one while nursing the other back to health. None of them understands the others' languages, but it doesn't seem to matter. Isolated, the three unlikely roommates - a Finn, a Russian and a Lapp - overcome both comic and tragic misunderstandings to form a passionate three-way...relationship. Because after a day of hard work on Anni's farm, who needs words?

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Viktor Bychkov, Anni-Christina Juuso, Ville Haapasalo
  • Directors: Aleksandr Rogozhkin
  • Producers: Sergei Selyanov
  • Format: AC-3, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Russian (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 2, 2003
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000DGKI7
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,257 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Cuckoo" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What an extraordinary movie! I was confused at the beginning, as were the 3 people with whom I was watching this ultimately marvelous film. We couldn't figure out why the guy was being chained to the rock, who was on which side of the war, what languages they were speaking. But with a little patience and perseverance, it all becomes crystal clear and the movie soars to the stratosphere. Ten stars.
The whole movie is set in Lappland, home of the ethnic Sami people. There's a pacifist-Finnish-conscript-sniper-prisoner of the Russians (got all that?) who is chained to the rock and left to die (dressed in an SS uniform) because he just doesn't want to fight any more. Didn't want to fight in the first place. Most of the beginning of the movie is taken up with his persistent and ingenious attempts to free himself from the chains - and I think it was all of those schemes that kept my 18yo son fascinated. By the time the bolt came loose from the stone, my kid was hooked on `the real story,' and, in spite of hating subtitles, he stuck around to the end and loved it.
Okay, stay with me here. Then there's a Russian prisoner of his own countrymen being taken to trial for the anti-Communist views found in his diaries. The jeep with the Russian is bombed; only the prisoner survives, but he's badly concussed.
And there's an utterly charming and luminous young Sami woman living alone (her husband was taken off 4 yrs earlier as a conscript) on a spit of land in a beautiful but pretty barren wilderness who ends up with both men in her hut. None of them speak a common language. The subtitles are hilarious as they babble on incessantly to each other with only occasional glimmers of real communication and understanding.
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Format: DVD
The main theme of this film is well known and very well worked out. Two enemies meet in a neutral surrounding. They want to kill each other, but by one reason or another, they don't. Sounds familiar? Well here we have an extra twist - a woman. None of these three people understand each other; they speak different languages and they have different backgrounds. There is no understanding but yet there is some. They feel each other.

The film is smartly complemented by the excellent director's work, superb acting, top cinematography, and the beautiful scenery of (Laplandia - Korelia) the northern Russia - southern Finland. This was the territory the Soviets aggressively took away from the Finns in 1939 in the Soviet - Finish war (the forgotten war). That is when the Finish snipers and the brutal winter destroyed the Soviet Army but still a little country as Finland could not defend itself against the Soviet might.

I give this film five stars and a very warm recommendation to everyone to watch it.
2 Comments 65 of 66 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
A very simple happenstance movie about a frustrated Russian soldier, a reluctant Finn soldier and a pastoral Sami woman. There are just the three characters in the movie and all of them speak different languages (Russian, Finnish and Sami). The Finn soldier (Veikko played by Ville Haapasalo) is a sniper (Cuckoo in military jargon) who is chained to his position in a remote outpost. His die-hard and innovative attempts to get rid of the shackles whilst complaining about the war, are simply hilarious (the actor's silent facial expressions are most impressive). The Russian soldier/prisoner (Ivan) is stranded in a foreign land and is ever suspicious. The pastoral Sami woman (Anni played by Anni-Kristiina Juuso)steals the show with her top-notch acting. Her bucolic lifestyle and simple outlook towards life is thought provoking. None of the characters in the movie can speak or understand each other's language and their interactions (mostly miscommunications) are simply hilarious.

In one of the scenes, Ivan cooks mushrooms for dinner. Anni thinks mushrooms will give Ivan a bad stomach. She prepares an infusion and (kindly) offers it to Ivan, who gladly drinks appreciating the wonderful taste. The infusion is in fact a potent laxative that takes immediate affect.

All in all a wonderful movie from Russia that reaffirms the beauty of life and the futility of war. It is also a movie about making connections by letting go of fear, suspicion and predisposed biases.

Solid performances by Anni-Kristiina Juuso & Ville Haapasalo.
Comment 26 of 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By Brad Borland on November 9, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
I saw this movie at a festival last month. It was produced in Russia, with the subject matter taken from WWII somewhere along the Finland/Russia border in Lapland. Fabulous scenery! I have seen other movies about this time period from the Finnish perspective. This is not a typiclal war movie with lots of blood and gore. Its main characters include a Finnish soldier left to an uncertain fate by his Germain allies, a Lapp woman, and a captured Russian soldier. All three speak with great emotion in their native tongues throughout, although it is apparent that they do not share a common language. This lends humor at times, but also adds a great deal to the effectiveness of their roles. Thank God for subtitles. Both of the Finns, the soldier and the Lapp, are well known cross border thesbians. The Russian actor deserves to be as well. One of the best movies I have ever seen, but I have the advantage of perspective of the era portrayed.
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