This is billed as a Russian `Pulp Fiction', I beg to differ and actually like both films, but this sort of stays with you and is more real. It stars Sergei Bodrov as Daniel, who has just been discharged from the Russian army. After he gets into a slight fracas with some film security guards, his rather earthy looking mother tells him to go and be with her `little Viktor' in Leningrad. He is the one thing the family has to be proud of, as her no good husband managed to go and die in prison - typical.
Well off he goes buying new music along the way to play in his Disc Man. On arrival he runs into a poor German trying to sell some pitiful wares in a rather down market flea market. He introduces himself as Hoffman, but Dani calls him `German' throughout. He has some more encounters where he seems to be a sort of Robin Hood attitude, doing good for good people. When he finally tracks the saintly Victor down it sort of becomes obvious rather quick that his halo has somewhat slipped and he is now a hit man for the mafia, well can't win em all can you? But Dani has always looked up to his brother, so when he suggests entering the 'family business', Dani agrees without much conscience wrangling. He claims to have been a clerk in the army missing out on all the actual fighting. If that is the case then the Russian army training videos must be rather good, as he just takes to his new `job' like a duck to water.
The music is very urban and keeps surprising you through out and their is a love interest too, which helps carry the story on.
I do not want to give the plot away as this 1 hour 35 minute film really speeds by, there are only good performances, the violence is often, but not gratuitous and thoroughly believable, not over the top gore or cool shoot outs, but messy and human. Great points I like from this film, they say `Hello' when they answer the phone (like the French ) they played faded glam rockers `Slade' at a `cool' party and do all live on vodka, something we thought was propaganda. Seriously this is a brilliant piece of world and more over Russian cinema. It was made in 1997, but is still relevant and a must see for world cinema fans.