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Interesting to see that the Russian cinema has changed strategy a bit (if that can be judged from watching one film… at least it’s actually two, with Day Watch already waiting on the desk): from reflective parables (sometimes political, such as Askoldov, or philosophical, such as Tarkowski’s oeuvre), now there appears to be something more of blunt elbow-like style: Matrix meets Vampires meets Lord of the Rings and what else. The fight good versus evil, and the world’s fate is at stake, and there is the chosen one, but he can pick sides and hence decide the eternal battle.
After I had heard quite a bit about it, and remember a spectacular trailer I watched some years ago, I expected the visuals of the film to be way more spectacular. The “vortex” looked nice and dark, but that was because it was an ugly apartment house circled by a couple of thousand animated crows, and at night, for that matter, so no wonder. The director or editor also liked it, so much, actually, that it was given more screen time than most of the actors. Apart from some nice graphical gimmics, the rest is just Moscow at night, which may be a nice setting in principle, but I guess the transfer from big screen to DVD revealed that even the visual concept of the movie is not up to snuff – not to speak of the nonsense script that even I understood and that just does not provide any mystery, drama or thrill. It is easy to get distracted during the film, so better provide food and drinks to the sofa, otherwise you will take on eny opportunity to jumo up and change rooms in-between.

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