Sergei Bodrov Jr. R.I.P. 1971-2002 -
is sensational in the role as Danila, a lost russian youngster turned
well, turned walking Murder Machine really. His portrayal in this Ûber
Great Noir crime drama is unforgettable and
will for ever stay in your mind - Spasibo Sergei.
A Brilliant crime drama and social commentary from the post-Soviet harsh
realities of the underbelly of St. Petersburg.
This city will consume you, says the German hobo Hoffman (Yuri Kuznetsov)
as a warning to newly arrived Danila.
A Film with some rough settings and broken down people, physically as
well as morally, and a dark picture of the
gangsterism underworld where not just Vodka, drugs and weapons are for
sale but also people and a human life ain't
worth a lot, and there are some racism (a chechen is not a russian)
and zenophobia too (which angered some critics).
The Backside to the 1990's Wild West capitalism unleashed on Russia
with plunder-lords, the oligarch's, robbing the
russian people. BUT, Brat is also a classic Gangster movie with a somewhat
likeable killer turned loose cannon on the
Mob, a tough guy with moral values slightly resembling these of normal
people. A Killer that we feel maybe, just maybe
can turn his life around, make a re-set and join the human race, there's
still hope for Danila
Bagrov (Bodrov) has just left military service and he has been in some
war (Afghanistan or in
Chechenien) and although he tell people he only did duty in the H.Q.
and not on the field, we begin to doubt this
later in the film when Danila smooth and effortless begin to decimate
the gangster numbers in St. Peter.
Danila's mother worries about him and his future, his father died in
jail some decade earlier, and tell him to connect
with his older brother in St. Petersburg, Viktor the businessman and
the pride of the family (and the mother says
Leningrad, still in the USSR and not yet adjusted to the new Russia).
And Danila arrives to "Peter" but before meeting his brother
he drifts around for 2 days in the netherworld of the
city and meets the hobo Hoffman (Yuri Kuznetsov) maybe
the only truly sympathetic person in this film, and the
prostitute drug pusher Kat (Maria Zhukova).
Later he meets the coal tram driver Sveta (Svetlana
Pismichenko) abused by a drunk husband, and they become
lovers, and Danila gifts her records of his favourite music from legendary
russian rock band Nautilus Pompilius.
The leader of the group Nautilus - Vyacheslav
Butusov (pic above) - plays himself in this film and he also
the Great Soundtrack to the film, and later to at least 3 more Aleksei
Balabanov films. And he's awesome, what a
beautiful raspy voice and nice music. I for sure will have too look
up his later solo work and Nautilus music.
When Danila meets Big Brother
Viktor (Viktor Sukhorukov) the pride of the Bagrov
family, this "business" of his really
is Crime as he's a Hit Man for the Mob. Without any remorse he lures
Danila into his "business" and Danila soon show
some great talent for killing people. His first Hit is the Chechen,
an intruder on the local market and much disliked by
the "True Russian" russian gangsters, and here Danila's war
with the local Boss starts as he's not only killing the man
from Caucasus but also one of the Boss underlings, the later killing
shot nicely in a chase scene where Danila escapes
by jumping on to a coal transport tram driven by Sveta.
Above, a pic of Danila from one of the most memorable
scenes in the film. During a "mission", a killing of some
when he and 2 goons are hiding out in an apartment waiting for their
victims, he goes upstairs and joins some "Normal"
Russians having a party. There are cultured people as directors
and musicians, including Vyacheslav Butusov playing
himself, and Danila (pic above) watches these beautiful rare beings
with wonder and warmth, a glimpse from another and
more happy lighter world. Unforgettable. Great art.Thanks.
R.I.P. Great Bodrov 27/12 1971-20/9 2002 and Genius
Balabanov 25/2 1959-18/5 2013
This indie crime drama became a mainstream super success
in Russia and The Movie of the Year. Also, the outstanding
Sergei Bodrov Jr. became a much beloved actor. He debuted in the great
Prisoner in the Mountains (Kavkazskij Plennik)
from 1996 and made by his famous father and young Sergei had a brilliant
future ahead of him as an actor and director.
But, disaster struck during the filming of his 2nd film, in the Caucasus
when an avalanche killed the whole team. Over a
100 people died and most of the bodies still haven't been found, resting
under the glacier ice
The 2007 US Kino International DVD of this 1997 film
is in widescreen 1.66:1 with a 2.0 russian audio with english
subtitles. There's only a small picture gallery as extras, but the picture
quality is fine and i'm very grateful that there's
a DVD with english subs of this at all, thanks Kino Video. Hopefully
the films of this Great Russian Film Master will be
released also in the West in the future, and on Blu-rays with english
subtitles and a lot of extras