Not the bearded Bushwick types---though their critics should be able to enjoy a scene in which angry children chase someone down the street yelling "Hipster!" while pointing, bodysnatcher-style. Rather, these hipsters are jazz-obsessed Soviet youth of the mid-'50s, swaddling themselves in zoot suits, hair gel and a robust disregard for the status quo. Our hero is the blandly likable Mels (Shagin), who only wants to wail on his saxophone and stride into the Pompadour club like a king. Such dreams are riskier than he realizes.
Hipsters is also a musical (in an intentionally naive Absolute Beginners vein), and while everything looks glinty and gorgeous, the story's political edge is dulled by excessive levity. Elvis Presley is right around the corner; these characters' innocent, genuinely sweet brand of Lindy Hopping rebellion could have used a heavier counterweight. Redemptively, the movie finds urgency via another avenue: the extraordinary Oksana Akinshina (Lilya 4-Ever), who plays Mels's brazen love interest, Polly. When getting her blond hair chopped by a pack of militaristic Stalinists, Akinshina rages with defiance, pushing the film toward a riveting hedonism. Moonfaced and alive, the actor should be the next big thing for Michelle Williams fans who'd like a little more.
Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf