An early film by Aki Kaurismäki
. Kati Outinen
is brilliant as Iris, the factory worker
of the title, who lives with her somewhatta oppressive parents in Helsinki. She cooks the meals and does all the housework, while they completely ignore her, preferring to watch TV and drink. The misery of Iris' life can be highlighted (or rather exposed) by an agonising detail: Even the ashes from her mum's cigarette
are just about to drop onto Iris.
Iris buys a dress and goes to a party - everybody ignores her there as well, and her mother forces her to take the dress back to the shop after the father called her a slut. A middle-class man called Aarne picks her up in a bar and sleeps with her, and then leaves the next morning. She informs him with a beautiful letter that she's pregnant; he sends her a cheque and a note saying "Get rid of it."
She quietly and inexorably starts to revenge herself on the world. She buys rat poison and kills Aarne and her parents. An extremely funny part of the movie is the scene when Iris goes to a bar to have a drink. A drunken guy approaches her in the same manner as Aarne did. Well, this time Iris simply adds some rat poison into drunkard's glass, smiling, and leaves him. The movie ends as the police come to pick Iris up from the factory.
As expected, there's hardly any dialogue, but you don't need it; the camera stays on Outinen's mesmerisingly gloomy face. Iris is possibly the least glamorous heroine in movie history, but without apparently doing anything, Outinen shows all of Iris' hope, despair and the consciousness that it's going to get worse before it gets better.