MUBI, there you go again with your descriptions. I wouldn't call this 'sharply intelligent' by any means. In fact, it's the opposite. It's gritty and realistic, and filled with a lot of pointless violence.
A charming Soviet take on the American gangster-crime movie. Bleak, pallid shots of Saint Petersburg paint a very unique atmosphere for this story. The environments and blasé characters challenges whether the violence and corruption is understood and acceptable, or still shocking and brutal.
The whole movie succeeds on this enigmatic character. His sense of justice and fairness in the chaotic St. Petersburg is fascinating. The only weakness I felt for the film, and it's a big one, was the older brother's motivation for his actions. Otherwise, this is a great pulpy thriller. Curious about the second film and more works by Balabanov.
Aleksei Balabanov's take on life in the slums of post Cold War Russia is at times bleak but always riveting. Sergey Bodrov Jr.'s performance echoes a young James Dean in his prime. The film gives us a look inside the grim Russian underworld but looks at it with a humane eye. Both director and the star have passed away since then, and it's a shame I've just found their work. Definitely watching more. Great film!
The best and most honest film about post-Perestroika Russia, pretty much a "Wild West" where only the strongest and fittest survive. But because it's Russian, survival is nearly colder than death. Anyway, the very sweet, sexy, charismatic lead actor did not survive very long after this film. Literally. Give this one a chance, it's highly entertaining.
i don't know if anyone who lived not in Russia of 90s will ever understand this one. it has russian soul, russian spirit, russian mind. but it is amazing that the cinema can actually deliver mood of the film to anyone interested. great work, Balabanov. great work, Bodrov. и песни с этого фильма до сих пор звучат в моем плеере.
At times it feels like an extended music video for a terrible band named Nautilus, but always with an eye for unnerving composition and use of shadow. I was shocked to learn of its cheapness, the grit and grime so immersive I foolishly believed it had been paid for. It elevates its 'birth of gangster' type by the sheer historical baggage it carries, an alienation to violence. Bad subs left me a little behind.