Directed by Alexie Balabanov
Russia's biggest box office hit in 1997, Aleksei Balabanov's (Dead Man's Bluff) Brother is an American-style gangster flick mixed with a pointed social consciousness. World cinema has shown us views of raw, impoverished post-Soviet Russia; Brother shows it with stark gunplay and one captivating lead performance.
Danila (Sergei Bodrov, Jr.) returns from army service to a St. Petersburg transformed into a casual culture high on music and consumerism. The chaotic atmosphere, carefully depicted by Balabanov's moody camerawork, easily invites the smug, belligerent Danila into a world of crime. Soon the youth is accompanying his brother Viktor, a contract killer for the Russian underworld, on violent escapades where wads of cash and a well-gripped gun are the ultimate symbols of power. Bodrov's cynical, brutal performance, reminiscent of tough-guy roles from countless Hollywood mob movies, further conveys the sense that 1990's St. Petersburg is not a far cry from from the blood-strewn Chicago of the late 1920s. And like Bogart and Cagney, Bodrov makes his morally challenged hero strangely likeable.
By combining classic motifs of lawlessness with revelatory scenes of a newly borne Eastern Europe, Brother becomes at once a sardonic movie thriller and a fiercely patriotic political statement.
A Film by ALEKSEI BALABANOV
SERGEI BODROV, JR., VICTOR SUKHORUKOV, SVETLANA PISMICHENKO, MARIYA ZHUKOVA, YURI KUZNETSOV, VYACHESLAV BUTUSOV
Cinematography by SERGEI ASTAKHOV
Production Design VLADIMIR KARTASHOV
Editing MARINA LIPARTIYA
Music by VYACHESLAV BUTUSOV
Produced by SERGEI SELYANOV Written and Directed by ALEKSEI BALABANOV
Copyright 1997 CTB
"A Terrifically Stylish Gangster Film."- Stephen Holden, New York Times
"The best Russian movie I've seen in years" - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
"There's more freshness and electricity in any five minutes of Brother than in all the Lethal Weapon films put together" - Jay Carr, THE BOSTON GLOBE
****1/2 - Dave Kehr, THE DAILY NEWS
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