This is easily one of the best true-life serial killer films ever made, based on one of the most brutal, sadistic murderers of recent times, Andrei Chikatilo.
This story would no doubt be much more well known had the events happened in America, but because it was in Russia, the horrific nature of this case is still largely ignored compared to wide-spread coverage of western killers.
This film focuses on forensic pathologist Viktor Burakov, brilliantly played by Stephen Rea. We see the enormous struggles this man and his small team faced in catching a monster who preyed on women and children over a twelve-year killing spree. Burakov is eventually promoted to detective and placed in charge of the case, but he constantly finds himself banging his head against a brick wall, due to the "enemy within" , the Russian government, who refused to give him the help he needed to stop the vicious maniac.
The film brilliantly illustrates the bureaucracy that Burakov faced from his own side (Russian government refusing to believe that serial killers could exist in their part of the world), and we see the toll that such a job took on this man's mind after dealing with years of discovering horrifically mutilated and tortured victims, many of which were young children. The film chooses not to display the horrendous nature of Chikatilo's acts upon his victims, the violence is kept to a minimum in favour of focusing on Burakov's investigation.
This film is fantastic for anyone who is interested in the Chikatilo case, but it can also be appreciated if you are not familiar with these events. Great script, fantastic acting, atmosphere and a truly gripping story. Couldn't ask for more!