Yuriy Tsurilo vigorously plays the charismatic and hubristic brain surgeon, Red Army General Glinsky, and the viewer is dragged alongside him as he finds himself accused of taking part in the "Doctors' Plot" and stumbles off into the bleak winter of 1953 Moscow and beyond, where he is captured, raped, and finally released in hopes that he can restore life to the stroke stricken Joseph Stalin.
Just when you thought Salò was the final word on the excesses of totalitarian cultures on the brink, along comes German and his giddy volley of grotesqueries. German really is off bushwhacking uncharted jungle. He obviously has a lot of Fellini-type stuff dressed up in a quasi-Tarkovsky-like way, but that says so very little (that his applicable contemporaries are Kusturica and Iosseliani tells you even less).
Theater of an absurd mind. Like Tarkovsky directing a Polanksi absurdist piece like Fellini with the taste of Von Trier... From too far away or too close - never quite right. Funny at points, but more disturbing. Beautiful at moments, but more just violent. Everything about this film is contrasty and brash. A depraved, though intriguing, cesspool.