Turo Pajala is a mineworker losing his job. He goes to Helsinki trying to get a new one, but life is tough in the big city. He meets a woman and her son, but ends up in jail. Together with another prisoner, Matti Pellonpää, he escapes and hopes to start a new life in Mexico.
The film continues Kaurismäki's interest in the working class or the factory workers and their concern about holding onto their jobs and creating a life worth living. In some way the film is a variation on Shadows in Paradise, ending with the same image, a ship, their opportunity for escape or a better life. The film also shows Kaurismäki as the master of the laconic conversation, and at the end has one of the best visual jokes I can remember seeing, that involves the roof of a convertible. Finally, as with all his films, it really makes you want to start smoking.