Time Out says

Balabanov's third feature is a snappily edited, contemporary gangster thriller, shot in semi-documentary style, which is a far cry from the elusive b/w art house teasers he's getting a reputation for. As an incidental portrait of Russia (or at least St Petersburg), it paints a sorry if fascinating picture. Though the social focus is relatively narrow - following a recently demobbed soldier caught up in his mobster brother's internecine world of seedy corruption, soulless materialism and frequent violence and death - the carefully depicted environment of cold markets, dossers' hang outs and cheerless workers' flats build a convincing account of a country's disaffection, lack of direction and yearning stoicism. Not that the film is depressing. Bodrov brings a broody matter-of-factness to his role as the reluctant killer Danila, obsessed with a Soviet-era underground rock group. He's in many ways an innocent and a romantic: his rationale, his racism, received not self-developed. Balabanov shows again his rare talent for deriving entirely credible performances, shooting with a no-fuss efficiency and assurance, while retaining an authorial distance that leaves the moral lessons open.


Release details

99 mins

Cast and crew

Aleksei Balabanov
Aleksei Balabanov
Sergei Bodrov
Viktor Sukhorukov
Svetlana Pismichenko
Maria Zhukova
Iurii Kuznetsov
Viacheslav Butusov
Irina Rakhshina
You may also like