Aleksei Balabanov directs Sergei Bodrov Jr., Viktor Sukhorukov, and Svetlana Pismichenko in this low key gangster flick where a unassuming ex-soldier travels to St. Petersburg and becomes his criminal brother’s secret muscle.
All Daniela wants to do is listen to local pop on his discman. Yet the dude is like a John Wick or a Léon in a damp sweater when called upon. He hangs about with tramps, all women love him. His untrustworthy brother uses him like a tool. There are sideswipes about Russian culture post the Fall. Daniela interacts with pretty much every strata, seems fascinated and appreciative of how the non-violent live their lives. This is pretty spaced out and sly. Like Jim Jamursch’s genre experiments. Deceptively simple, with tense set pieces. Likeable lead Sergei Bodrov died in an avalanche making another movie only a few years later. He has real charisma.
Perfect Double Bill: Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (2000)
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