Category Archives: Film Reviews (International)

Reviews of films made out of India, anywhere across the globe.

Triple Frontier (2019)

Written by Sarthak Suvankar

My Ratings: 3/5

Triple Frontier Review:There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.‘ – well, let this be the moral of this film!

Triple Frontier is a movie that took its time to be made!

It all started in 2010 when Johnny Depp and Tom Hanks were supposed to be part of the film, later Denzel Washington and Sean Penn were considered for some time, then came along Tom Hardy and Channing Tatum. And it doesn’t end there, over the years at some point or another Leonardo DiCaprio, Mahershala Ali, Casey Affleck, Will Smith were all attached to the project but later dropped out for various reasons.

Finally it was Ben Affleck and Oscar Isaac who owned the main roles along with Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal. And the rest is history, I mean the present!

This Netflix Original film starts with the same drug-cartel based dramas we are so familiar with; the likes of Narcos and Sicario where the DEA and his entire team are desperate to close the case on some master mind ever-elusive drug dealer.

So the first half goes mostly concerning Oscar Isaac (who is working with the DEA) getting a tip from his beautiful informant (Adria Arjona) about the ruthless drug lord Gabriel Martin Lorea and his hidden stash. He persuades his four ex-army buddies, soon gets reunited, and goes straight into action – to raid and destroy the camouflaged residence of this Colombian drug dealer in the deep jungles of Brazil.

And also, most importantly to get hold of the moolah hidden in that house which estimated a staggering figure of seventy-five million dollars!

‘You cannot go back to your normal life after tonight. You guys need to own the fact that what we’re about to do is criminal.’

But then the movie turns more interesting in the second part where transporting the looted money becomes a real problem for the team!

Greed and certain abrupt stupid decisions plays a very important part in their journey, or rather in turning their well schemed escape plan into a mess.

And after a point it is all about surviving! 

It was Kathryn Bigelow who was supposed to direct Triple Frontier but then finally J.C. Chandor took over the reigns of the film. And undoubtedly he did a decent job.

Good performances from all around, well executed emotional scenes where you get to feel the bonding between the characters. The cinematography of Roman Vasyanov is worth praising, the picturesque locations and the awesome landscapes of the Andes mountain range and its foothills are really the heart of the movie. Action sequences are also decent but overall don’t expect too much!

I think Triple Frontier had a lot more potential and could have been made into a much better film if it had a better first half. Honestly without the amazing star-cast the story/script in itself isn’t something really to look forward to. But then again, it is definitely worth a watch.

P.S. – To all Ben Affleck fans out there, go get some tissues. Thank me later!

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fo3yRLLrXQA

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Captain Marvel (2019)

Written by Yogeswaran Ganapathy @moviemanyogi

My Ratings: 2.75/5

Captain Marvel Review: A debut hero movie with same MCU formula but with intense final moments which sets up an intriguing future for MCU.

The Basic Plot: The story of an USA pilot Carol Denvers who becomes Captain Marvel.

The opening moments of Captain Marvel give us a look into the latest addition of the Marvel Cinematic universe … Hala which is the home planet of the Kree force. These sequences give you a strong vibe of Asgard in Thor (2011) and Wakanda in Black Panther (2018) . There we have Brie Larson present as a fierce Kree warrior under the team headed by Jude Law. Is she holding more than what meets the eye ??? That forms the rest of the story.

Brie Larson gives a memorable performance as Captain Marvel. I must say that the hate she received for the trailer of the film is totally unjustified and she has made a decent debut as a superhero in the Marvel Cinematic universe.

Samuel L. Jackson steals the show as Nick Fury in the 90’s. He adds a cool swag to the role and easily connects with the audience., specially the scenes he has with Brie Larson are really enjoyable.

The digital de-aging of Nick fury is pretty inconsistent though. It is revealing in some scenes and fabulous in others. 

Ben Mendelsohn and Annette Bening give a justified performance in their given scope.

The direction and screenplay in the film is pretty formulaic . Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck follow the same Marvel debut hero formula with only a few standout moments. The setting of the era of 1990’s could have been exploited more to make the audience have a better connect. And unfortunately the push of women empowerment is shown in a cliched way. We need to understand that women empowerment need not be born ONLY by trying to prove that men are wrong! 

The story is pretty dull. We have a main character, a mentor, a power discovery …. you get it right.

The Marvel problem of antagonist/villians (barring Thanos and Loki) still persists in its 21st film . These characters just come and go along the screen with most performances being pretty forgettable.

The first hour of the movie is bland. It’s a mix of Thor, Black Panther and nothing amusing . The second half brings out the acting range of Brie Larson effectively. The core of the movie lies in the last 15 minutes and solely because it has a great tie in to the Marvel cinematic universe. These moments greatly set up the Marvel universe for the next few movies!!

Many people would argue that captain Marvel is the most overpowered character in the MCU as of now. But in this movie, her powered state is felt to be OVER-powered due to the pretty weak antagonists who fight against her. It is like a Bollywood fight fest between Salman Khan and low level goons in Dabangg! Captain Marvel is rarely shown to be vulnerable which is a huge drawback.

Iron man is a classic example of showing this vulnerability. The character was hurled towards death , was highly vulnerable and then he defied all odds to come out all guns blazing. That made us root for the character. This particular aspect was clearly missing in Captain Marvel.

We really have to appreciate the marketing team of Marvel and the sheer brilliance of the head of MCU Kevin Feige. They have attracted audience to watch a movie pretty well knowing that they are here for the last few moments. The last 10 minutes and especially the mid-credits scene is why most of the people actually came to see the movie. And it’s by far the best Marvel mid- credits scene ever!

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LHxvxdRnYc

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com


The Nun (2018)

The Nun Review

written by Anu Gopinath

The Nun touted to be one of the most awaited horror flicks of the year, falls desperately short of expectations and one feels robbed off all the excitement and anticipation created by an exemplary original movie and a well made trailer.

My Ratings: 1/5

Last night, after a long deliberation and strong recommendations of my fellow CFians (The Members of the Official Cinema Forensic Film Club), when I finally watched the classic that is The Shining, I The-Nunrealized that it is considered a classic not because it scared the wits out of the audiences but because of the way it toyed with our minds! Mr.Kubrick used the story, the settings, the background score and the actors to successfully weave an intricate web of darkness in the hearts of the audiences, thus making us feel the horror and plight of characters!

But unfortunately the subtle points where Mr.Kubrick scored with his classic is exactly where Corin Hardy falters with his new flick The Nun.

Set as a prequel to the extremely successful Conjuring series, director Corin Hardy tries and tries in vain to explain the origins of one the most feared villainess of recent cinema history. The Valak!

The movie is set in the year 1952 with a priest and a sister being send to an abbey in Romania by the Vatican to investigate the recent suicide of a nun. The eerie settings of the abbey and competent cinematography of Maxime Alexandre makes the perfect setting for a decent horror flick!

Borrowed heavily from the likes of its predecessors and classics like The-NunThe Omen (1976), the movie on the onset, which had everything going for it, come a cropper the moment director failed to instigate suspense and intrigue in the minds of the audience and inadvertently looses their interest and attention!

Relying heavily on the rigmarole of the usual gimmicks of a below average horror show, it makes the mockery of a movie franchise whose original (The Conjuring 2013) is entitled with the honor of redefining this genre in the last decade!

The cast – Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet and of course Bonnie Aarons does a commendable job of holding the fort but their hard works are completely undone by a loosely written script which lacks in both substance and suspense! It neither The-Nunmanages to convince us of the origins of the spectacular villainess nor does it do justice to its originals!

The background score from Abel Korzeniowski which should have been the pillar of support to an already failing storyline, also fails to live up to the expectations and compounds to the misery that is The Nun!

The filmmakers often tend to forget that a movie just because it belongs to the horror genre doesn’t always need to be loud and dramatic. At times subtlety is the need of the hour to lure the audience towards the story and if possible have a more meaningful experience.

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

Mission: Impossible – Fallout Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

Mission: Impossible – Fallout Review: If there is one movie that is meant to be watched and awed only for its Stunts – this is the one!

My ratings: 4/5

‘The end you’ve always feared is coming. And the blood will be on your hands. The fallout of all your good intentions.’

Finally got to see the latest adventures of Ethan Hunt, a fresh set of impossible missions that of course was made possible by Tom Cruise and his IMF team (no suspense there) and this time they call it Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

Directed by Christopher McQuarrie (his second MI directorial mission after Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation); the basic plot for this movie is simple enough, primarily hinging on Hunt’s emotional decision to save a life of his team member and while doing so complicating his original mission and risking lives of millions.

And speaking of his team members Ving RhamesSimon PeggAlec Baldwin – the original Impossible Missions Force (IMF) is back; and
yes, they all look pretty old and glum but still carry enough nostalgia
for the audience to look beyond those aged faces and enjoy their sentimental bonding instead.  

Henry Cavill fits in perfectly and proves to be a worthy opponent for Hunt. And beware – he is not a ‘scalpel‘ but a ‘hammer‘ and ‘He’s not Mission: Impossible - Falloutjust some observer. He’s an assassin.’

Both Vanessa Kirby as the sexy vicious White Widow and Angela Bassett as the calculative CIA head make their presences felt. Rebecca Ferguson is back with a twist of her own, Sean Harris resurfaces as the dangerous criminal mastermind, even Michelle Monaghan has a cameo, but unfortunately Jeremy Renner who was a part of both Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation was no where to be seen!

But remember this movie is not about the plot, not even about star-cast or the performances, not about the cinematography, the editing or the background music (which are all pretty much awesome though), and definitely not about the suspense of completing the final mission. Mission: Impossible – Fallout is all about the
unbelievable stunts that have been performed throughout the movie with incredible accuracy.

There have been enough media hype over this and I am sure by now you all must be aware that Tom Cruise does most of his death-defying stunts himself and that is indeed an extraordinary feat for any actor, but then at the age of 56 – now that is what I call an impossible mission to accomplish! And hat’s off to Mr. Cruise’s Mission: Impossible - Falloutdedication and fitness level that he performs these stunts in supreme style and perfection!

Let’s first consider the 25,000 ft High-Altitude Low Opening parachute jump performed in Abu Dhabi for which Tom Cruise trained for an entire year and it is the first time ever that any actor have risked trying such an antic for a movie!

Then there is the helicopter chase in New Zealand for which he actually learnt to fly a helicopter – got both private and commercial pilot’s license, and finally did a Downward Spiral which most experienced pilots won’t dare attempt!

Also a helmet-free high-speed motorcycle chase through the busy Paris streets against the traffic and that too without any safety rig!

Then of course the infamous London roof-top chase where Tom had to leap from one building to another, unfortunately broke his ankle as he landed, still pulled himself up and completed the shot – because he Mission: Impossible - Falloutknew that he’d broken his leg and they wouldn’t get a chance for
another take!

And also there are those deadly hand-to-hand combat sequences, risky rock climbing moments, hanging for your life from a helicopter situations and some intense car chases just to keep you attentive for the entire 2h 27min run time!

Trust me, these stunts are the real reasons to go for this sixth franchise Mission: Impossible – Fallout and it is totally worth watching them on the big screen!

‘How many times has Hunt’s government betrayed him, disavowed him, cast him aside? How long before a man like that has had enough?’

Honestly no idea how long before Tom Cruise has had enough or in other words how many more MI instalments will be coming up in future but then one thing is for certain – for Mr. Cruise ‘age’ and ‘MI instalments’ are just a number!

Keep them coming I say!

Similar Interest: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com.

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom (2018)

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

written by Anu Gopinath

“The difference between a great artist and an ordinary one is the ability of the former to know when to stop” – Sherlock Holmes.

My Ratings: 1.5/5

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom review: Gone are those days when heart wrenching stories were told through the medium of cinema and timeless classics told the Jurassic-World-Fallen-Kingdompoignant tales of love, heartbreak and injustice.

Cinema was once the medium of common man through which he expressed his frustrations against injustice, his lament for his long lost love and his youthful exuberance of his triumphs. But while sitting through the tiring 2 hours of the latest installment of Jurassic Park, one cant help but wonder about the futility of the rigmarole that is “sequels”.

A movie riddled with scientific inaccuracies and mindless special effects, has the two main characters reprising their roles of the previous installment and gives a below par performance Jurassic-World-Fallen-Kingdomwhich makes the film a painful watch.

It is high time Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard give a long review of their resume and decide whether the characters they have done till now do justice to their abundant talent. With absolutely nothing new to offer the film huffs and puffs through its entirety with a wafer-thin storyline and below par special effects.

An almost non-existent storyline which borrows heavily from the first two installments, the director J.A. Bayona even dares to touch the controversial topic of human cloning in a desperate effort to hold the attention of the audience – but fails spectacularly!!!

The timeless classic that is Jurassic Park (1993) has stood the test of
time and it was the touch of the finest auteurs of world cinema that Jurassic-World-Fallen-Kingdommade this movie what it is today – Steven Spielberg.

Its unique storyline, spell binding special effects and amazing background score struck the right chord with the audience and yet it is the same traits that become the new installment’s undoing.

It’s with a heavy heart that I am writing the obituary of a grand cinema franchise which not only did redefine the genre but also became a benchmark to which future sci-fi flicks would be weighed, measured and judged!!

If only men knew when to walk away …  if only …

Similar Interest: Jurassic World review

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Deadpool 2 (2018)

Deadpool 2 Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

Deadpool 2 Review: If you like quirky insolently funny kind of comedy blended with extreme gore – this is your game!

My ratings: 4/5

11 years in the making, the first Deadpool film emerged in 2016, Canadian actor Ryan Reynoldspet-project that went on to become an unexpectedly Marvel-ous success of the year! The film was made out of $58 million (only) and went on to collect a whooping $783 deadpool-2million worldwide – the highest grossing Superhero-movie with an
R-rating!
The trailers created such hype and immense fan-following that the producers announced its sequel Deadpool 2 just 3 days before even the first film hit the theaters!

And finally the wait is over, the second installment is hot out of the oven and it is no less inappropriately funny (often to the point of vulgarity), addictively raunchy and disrespectfully sarcastic than the first one. Guaranteed boost in violence, swearings, racist jokes, sexually awkward moments and self-referential super-hero-world wisecracks!

You all better get ready for the lizard-skinned Wade Wilson who managed to gain extraordinary healing powers from an accident and got transformed into this cool superhero Deadpool; and mark my words – this time he is determined to take down all the baddies of the world!

‘You’re no hero. You’re just a clown, dressed up like a sex toy.’ Ouch!

deadpool-2Like any other superhero from either DC or the Marvel universes Deadpool also has certain set of responsibilities (mostly self-imposed though) and by the end of the movie he goes through enough comic sufferings to achieve the impossible (well almost).

But the real question that needs our attention is that this buffoon of a superhero who every now and then breaks the fourth-wall and chat up the audience just to deliver another smart one-liner – will he be able to commit to a dream from a loved one and sacrifice his life if necessary to save an innocent?

Superb comic-timing by Ryan Reynolds – definitely his foul sense of humor is the core of this franchise! Not to forget Colossusdeadpool-2DopinderBlind Al and Deadpool’s girlfriend Vanessa who continued to be at their very best in this sequel too.    

Introduction of director David Leitch (who replaced Tim Miller) and also the introduction of a whole bunch of new characters – the one-eyed villain from the future Cable played by Josh Brolin, the most ‘lucky’ new recruit in the ‘X-Force’ team Domino played by Zazie Beetz and Julian Dennison as the kid who has problems in controlling his superpowers. Awesome cool performances all around! 

And guess who plays the Vanisher? Hint: The same guy was supposed to play Cable – but didn’t. 

deadpool-2Overall a highly entertaining film that turns out to be exactly what it promised to be!

And let’s face it, when grotesquely violent action-sequences (like a guy being shredded into pieces in a huge grinder, another one literally torn into half from his belly, and hundreds of chopped heads and limbs flying around the screen most of the time) make you heartily chuckle, eat your popcorn with a smile and wait for the next gag – then the writers Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Ryan Reynolds must have done something right!

Wade Wilson is undoubtedly the funniest superhero in a costume and lucky for us he is kinda immortal, which means never-ending franchises. Wink. Wink.

‘Tell me they got that in slow-motion’ Absolutely hilarious!

P.S: Still wondering about Stan Lee’s cameo – couldn’t find him anywhere in the film!

Similar Interest: Deadpool review

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

A Quiet Place (2018)

A Quiet place Review

written by Anu Gopinath

A Quiet Place Review: John Krasinski, a terribly underrated actor with an abundance of potential comes off age and finally shows the world what he’s capable of!

My Ratings: 3.5

Though touted to be a horror thriller, A Quiet Place plays in to the hearts of the audience with its gripping tale of love, bereavement and forgiveness!

The young actor that is Millicent Simmonds, is an absolute
revelation and her acting prowess make us reminisce quiet fondly of
one brilliant Abigail Breslin swooping the world off its feet in M. Night Shyamalan‘s Signs.

The movie starts on an ominous note and the first quarter of an hour is well spent on explaining the storyline and ground rules of the plot. Now with the plot line set, Krasinski, in a move that can only be deemed ‘audacious’, thrusts the prodigal talent of Ms. Simmonds
into the limelight and boy, doesn’t she deliver! And that’s where Krasinski, the director shines!

A-Quiet-PlaceHe along with Emily Blunt, quite brilliantly plays the parents who are holding on to their loved ones at the times of adversity, coming in terms with the heartbreak of their lost child and giving hope to their progenies when they have the luxury of keeping none for themselves!

The young Ms. Simmonds carries the movie on her little shoulders depicting the heart break of an young girl who has to come in terms
with untimely and cruel death of her brother, the suppressed
laments of a deaf girl who blames herself for his untimely death and
the resultant isolation from her dad and ultimately, the stark
realisation and the defiant acceptance of her responsibility to save her younger brothers and her mother from the aliens!

Brilliant cinematography by Charlotte Bruus Christensen, a simple plot and credit goes to Marco Beltrami for the clever use of A-Quiet-Placebackground score or even the lack of it; the suspense plays well into the minds of the audience and keeps them engaged through out.

Though not exceptional by any measure, the success of the movie is in the vision of the young director John Krasinski to create a decent thriller devoid of any gimmicks and instead tell it though the pains and heartbreak of a grieving family – and that is what makes this movie a must watch flick of the year.

It’s not everyday that the world gets to see a prodigal talent unravelling its various layers and it took 16 long hard years since Abigail Breslin and a very underrated actor /director, to see the birth of one!

N it’s been worth the wait!

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Tomb Raider (2018)

Tomb Raider Review

written by Anu Gopinath

Tomb Raider: Rome was not built in a day and no superhero paid heed to their true calling without going through the tests of life and making the ultimate sacrifice!

My Ratings: 2.5/5

The movie franchise that sky rocketed Angelina Jolie to her stardom reboots with Alicia Vikander playing the title character! In all Tomb-Raiderfairness the movies with Jolie in the lead had her already established as the well known adventurer and told the story of one of her many adventures. But director Roar Uthaug has delved too deep into the storyline for this reboot which concentrates on the early life of Lara Croft and tells the story of making of the legendary adventurer. And that’s where the movie scores!

Vying for throne left vacant by Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix Trilogy) and Angelina Jolie – it is no less than a herculian task but Alicia Vikander shoulders the responsibility with an amazing ease and panache that screams volumes of her talent.

And her claims to the throne is truly justified as she backs it up with the stunning portrayal of a woman who is in the cusp of being elevated into the greatness, yet riddled with insecurities and self doubts. Her punches are misplaced, her arrows miss the targets and her bouts, tapped out!

She absolutely delivers the goods by portraying the vulnerability of a lost child, the strength of a daughter whose father makes the Tomb-Raiderultimate sacrifice and inevitably, the acceptance of her true calling!

This time the film Tomb Rider goes deep into the earlier life of Lara Croft and examines her relationship with her father, played brilliantly by Dominic West, thus establishing the reasons and sacrifices that made Lara Croft who she is and whom eventually the world have come to know.

But though the movie starts on a promising note, it soon loose its way due to lack of a strong storyline or for that matter, a strong villain character! And this ultimately becomes the movie’s undoing!

The visual effects is at par with the best in business but lack of action or the scarcity of it and a weak supporting cast drags Tomb-Raiderthe movie down like dead weight. The world is yet to see the talent that Walton Goggins is and though an accomplished actor, he by no means could shoulder the responsibilities that comes with playing the negative character of a Tomb Raider franchise. And that’s where Angelina Jolie movies score higher!

With Wonder Woman laying the foundations and ultimately setting a bench mark for how an origin movie should be told, Tomb Rider falls desperately short of expectations though there are a few highs that the audience can take home with!

Is Tomb Rider a good origin-movie? Yes! Is it a good movie? Debatable! It’s a question only time and a great sequel will answer!

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Red Sparrow (2018)

Red Sparrow Review

written by Anu Gopinath

Red Sparrow: ‘The Cold War did not end, it merely shattered into a thousand pieces.’

My Ratings: 2/5

Red sparrow, the latest offering from Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton tells the story of the post cold war era espionage but can only be deemed as a feeble attempt at the spy thriller genre and is
not fit to hold a candle to the classics like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Red Sparrow tries too hard to be a part of that genre but the problem is… it falls flat on its face!

The film depicts the story of a Russian prima ballerina Dominica Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) who gets entangled in the spy games of the state and is forced to become a ‘red sparrow’ and eventually tells the story of her revenge and redemption.

In paper, the movie looked to have everything going for it and director Francis Lawrence tries too hard to delve into the life of the protagonist but given the limited running time of the movie, he could neither give a proper character definition for Jennifer Lawrence nor could he establish an emotional connect for the character with the audience. In his desperate attempts to successfully make the
transformation to the movie from a novel written by Jason Matthews, the director forgot the perennial rule of filmmaking. Red-SparrowIronically it’s the same golden rule that a spy lives by and that a filmmaker should never forget … “Nothing ever goes according to the plan!”.

Jennifer Lawrence shoulders the movie with her innate talent of getting into the skin of any character she plays. However same cannot be said about the multitude of talents that goes wasted namely, Charlotte Rampling and Mary-Louise Parker.

Joel Edgerton huffs and puffs through a role which hardly requires him to do anything more than a mere supporting role and it’s a shame to see such a brilliant talent with a horde of potential being thrown in to dumps of a pretty average cinema!

Jeremy Irons commands the screen presence in any and every scene he is in but is completely undone by the lack of screen time and lousy writing.

Red-SparrowIt’s the brilliance of the technical team that keeps the movie intriguing, interesting and afloat. The cinematography by Jo Willems is one of the best works I have seen in recent times. Added to that, a stunning background score by James Newton Howard successfully recreates the blanket of eerie, gloomy and mysterious atmosphere that is remnant of the cold war era Soviet Russia and the Russian federation that came into being since its fall.

Despite its 143min long running time, the movie fails to capture the attention of audience and one fails to empathise or sympathise with the lead characters . The emotional discord between the audience and movie is quite evident!

For once now, when I kick back with a glass of vodka, I can only Red-Sparrowsquirm and sigh hard at the state of spy thrillers and the movies that has come to pass as the spy thrillers and can only get nostalgic about movies like North by Northwest  or Manchurian candidate which redefined this genre and cinema.

All the flicker of hope that was rekindled with the release of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy about the resurgence of this genre has been doused !

One can only raise his glass of drink in despair and give good wishes the condition of the spy-genre that has been laid to waste. “NAZDAROVYE!”

Similar Interest: Best Conspiracy Thrillers ever made

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Loveless – BEST OF 19TH MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL 2017!

Loveless (2017)

written by Souranath Banerjee

Loveless Review: Cold and toxic, a disintegration of marriage metaphorically portraying an entire nation’s predicament!  

My Ratings: 4.4/5

A bitter divorce is never an easy experience for any couple but certainly the real victims are always the children. The most traumatic realisation a child has to cope with is that neither his parents wants custody of him, that he is just an unwanted baggage, a burden, that he is a mere glitch in their ugly adult world.

And that is exactly what happens to 12-year-old young Alyosha (Matvey Novikov), the terrible hard-hitting feeling of being loveless.

On one side Alyosha’s father (Aleksey Rozin) is having an affair with a younger woman who is pregnant with his child and on the other hand his harsh-speaking mother (Maryana Spivak) is passionately in love with a wealthy older man. On the verge of a nasty divorce the parents indulge themselves into a spate of brutal outbursts completely oblivious of the child who eventually decides to vanish from their lives for good.

Where is he gone? Has something happened to him? A kid cannot just disappear like that?

lovelessBut then writer/director Andrey Zvyagintsev (of Leviathan fame) along with writer Oleg Negin uses this tragic event to serve a bigger purpose, to narrate and critique the conditions in contemporary Russia, a country where everyone is desperately looking for – a lost loveless kid or may be it is simply Love that they are searching for?

Here we are talking about one nation (though I personally think it is a worldwide problem) where Happiness has become a piece of merchandise that can be negotiated and bought at a price while the value of Family-stability been reduced to a sign of status symbol. Where emotions and duty take the second seat while greed, ego and lust for a better-life gets the priority.

Absolute brilliance in the acting department – especially Maryana Spivak and Aleksey Rozin really make you hate and even sympathise lovelesswith them to a certain extent. The secondary characters Natalya PotapovaMarina Vasileva and Anna Gulyarenko also have such strong impact on the story and the audience.

But the best part is Mikhail Krichman‘s unique cinematography, the long takes and the subtle tracking of the camera brilliantly adds to the sentiments of the characters and the overall feel of the movie.

The music by Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine is spot on and cleverly used only when it is actually required.

Official submission from Russia in the ‘Best Foreign Language Film‘ category at the 2018 Oscars. This is undoubtedly one of the best cinema of last year; very rarely does one film achieves a feat of representing a country and the psychology of its inhabitance with such savage precision and success.

Go watch it!

Similar interest: Leviathan Review

Similar Interest: Best Russian Classic Comedy Films

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com