Losing faith in their original idea for a movie to celebrate Finland’s 50 years of independence, a film crew decides to hire a typical Finnish taxpayer to tell them what to shoot. The result becomes a comedic cavalcade of Finnish promotional clichés – Lapland, sauna, moose hunting, beautiful blond women etc. – as presented by a slick entourage following on the heels of William Nurmi, a Finnish-American hair tonic millionaire on a visit to his ancestors’ homeland. Add some half-baked criminal hanky-panky, and towards the end even one of the main characters has to confess to the camera that he’s lost track of this movie’s plot about fifteen minutes ago.
A closed room mystery begins when an infamous tycoon is found dead in his bath tub. The famous police lieutenant Palmu is summoned to investigate.
In 1906, a poor farmer in the backwoods of Finland — then part of Russia — struggles to make a living for his wife and four children. He hears about a new law that will allow equal voting rights to all citizens, rich and poor, men and women. He attends a Socialist meeting and starts believing that everything will turn better after the upcoming election. Instead, things only get worse for him and his wife after the election day. They start blaming themselves, believing that their tragedies are God’s way of punishing them for voting the Socialists.
A girl who moves to the city after her fiancé lacks the courage to face his father, who is against their relationship. In the city the girl winds up being abused by men, giving birth to a child and supporting herself on prostitution.
Young advertising executive Vatanen suddenly quits his job and his whole life in Helsinki, and decides to spend a while in the Finnish wilderness. A wounded hare hit by a car becomes his travel companion. Together they find reclusion in the Finnish Lapland, soon to be disturbed by a noisy group of foreign tourists and their pretentious Finnish hosts. When the hare gets ill and needs to see a vet, Vatanen must return to the city and finally face the choice between his new and former life.
A thriller set in turn-of-the-century Helsinki, Stolen Death uses elements of German expressionism to tell the story of Finnish resistance fighters smuggling arms to overthrow the Tsarist occupiers of Finland. Tapiovaara stresses the divided loyalties of the Finnish bourgeoisie, torn between preserving their privileged economic position and taking a risky stand for an independent Finland.