Lev Kuleshov’s By the Law tells the story of a group of prospectors in the Yukon who, after a gold strike and two murders, find themselves faced with an existential crisis, in the midst of horrific ice and darkness.
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An interesting adaptation of an American novel by a Russian filmmaker. I recalled Polanski's "Knife In The Water" and Phillip Noyce's "Dead Calm" - their minimal casts and harrowing natural settings obviously influenced by earlier works of this sort (albeit without the ever-present moral dimension of this film). Intense, sad, and hopeful all at the same time, I'll be on the lookout for the name Lev Kuleshov.
Hey, MUBI. Can you stop labeling Soviet films propaganda? All films are a form of propaganda. This film was touching if a little overwraught at times. I think they hired that actress because she could bug her eyes out.
Lev Kuleshov directs this silent adaptation of Jack London's story, "The Unexpected," about 5 prospectors in the Yukon whose isolation leads to madness and eventually murder. Surprisingly mundane, the film lacks the bite one would expect from the subject matter, and the modern score by Robert Israel never seems to fit the gravity of the film. Kuleshov, for me, ranks below his students as a director.
The most minimalistic setting and narrative, yet Kuleshov turns it masterfully into a claustrophic exercise on justice. Wonderful cinematography and lighting (especially at the end). If only the actors were more convincing.
Un classique inamovible du cinéma soviétique muet, au douloureux et poignant questionnement existentiel et judiciaire qui n'est pas exempt de quelques curieuses et gênantes approximations voire erreurs de logique ou de montage... www.cinefiches.com
A fascinating little film for sure, Kuleshov was one of the pioneers of Soviet cinema and with this he tackled a story but not without including his highly expressionist language. What first attracted me to this film was a still-frame image of Aleksandra Khokhlova's face resembling the Joker. What a face.