'Gruz 200' stands for Russian soldiers' corpses transported from war zones. Also it is the title of the most controversial film of controversial Aleskey Balabanov, which focuses not only on lives and deaths of different people but describes death-bed and decay of the Soviet system. Plot. It was a desire of the director not to give too many details of the plot and therefore it is going to be disclosed here very briefly. The events take place in 1984 Soviet Union, small and depressing industrial town. A daughter of a big-shot government officer is kidnapped by a demented police man who falls in love with her in a very sick way. Genre. The director refers to his work as a thriller. The atmosphere of the film is extremely tense which grips the audience until the very end. Some scenes of the film are pure horror on the verge of extremely dark and absurd comedy. But one should bear in mind that the word "comedy" may be deceptive. It is a very serious film in fact, raising problems of religion, faith, love, power, life and death, good and evil. Controversy. The film is extremely violent and disturbing (many famous actors refused to take part in it, including E. Mironov; the film did not receive a single award at Kinotavr film festival in Sochi, while on the other hand many critics acclaimed it, calling it a brilliant work or Balabanov's best film). Although the major part of the violence is off-screen, the shock level that the movie delivers is maximal (to some extent the film resembles Michael Haneke, Gaspar Noe and Lars Von Trier films). The disturbance is caused not so much by what you physically see but rather by what you witness happening by the fact that such things can be done by human beings. The film does not have a single positive character. Every single major character of film is to certain extent wicked, except for one a Vietnamese servant who dies in the first half of the movie (it is very symbolic that Balabanov, who is often criticized for being a racist chose a Vietnamese person to be the only completely positive character of the film). On the other hand, none of the characters in the movie is completely negative, even the main villain (probably one of the most evil and macabre villains in the entire film history) has a virtue he is capable to love ("he is not a maniac, he is just a person who loves in his own way" said Balabanov when describing the character). Music. Balabanov always carefully chooses music for his films for the creation of special atmosphere (Nautilus in Brat and modern rock bands in Brat 2). For this film the director selected very stereotypical trashy Soviet songs (plus some underground music) which definitely suit the picture. Combination of these cheesy and optimistic songs with the macabre events taking place in the film, increase the shock and disturbance level even more. One of the most memorable scenes of the movie is the villain riding his hostage handcuffed to the sidecar motorcycle accompanied by a song about a float-boat. Another memorable scene in the film demonstrates how the same aeroplane that delivers corpses of dead soldiers from Afghanistan, takes the new recruits there. Happy ending. Very ironic pseudo-happy ending provided by the film writes the new Russian history behindhand, suggesting that nothing will change to good: atheists will receive baptism but not faith, younger generation will learn how to make money but will be doing that by all manner of means (like in "Zhmurki"), one war will end where a second will begin and the county will turn into one rotting orphan corpse.
Drama / Thriller
Drama / Thriller
A young woman is taken hostage by a police officer gone mad.
December 27, 2020