I confess that when I started watching this film I thought, during the first half hour, that I was simply in for an above average action movie, with an incredibly high body count, as the bandits engage in shootouts in public places with a complete disregard for the consequences. The spetsnaz and OMON are used in force, but their contribution is purely to increase the aforementioned body count!
Yet when the bandits are forced to take refuge in the apartment of an ordinary family, where they are joined by another group of criminals, caught up in the sweep of the massive apartment block (and how many directors would have an actor of Sergey Garmash's stature not turn up till over half an hour into the film?)the film really finds its feet. There are moments of humour, and human warmth as well as menace, in the interactions between the family and their unwelcome guests. Here we learn who these desperate men really are. And the beauty is in the details: whilst others relax and soften, one huge thug obsessively scratches the table with a knife. When we finally see what he was doing, it turns out he was drawing the badge of the VDV - the elite paratroop regiment.
Embarrassed by hostile news coverage. the police go on the offensive, starting a 'media war', and turning the whole event into a 'reality show'. Whereas the bandits talk about 'fate' and 'destiny', seeing their futures as already fixed, the ambitious young Captain Katya Verbitskaya knows that even the past is not immutable: the 'live' footage is edited to show a falsely positive version of events.
One of the bandits shows a better understanding of modern realities, using the Internet to promulgate a true veraion of events, but even he eventually feels more kinship with the old world rather than the new, and the old-fashioned cop who defies orders to continue pursuing him.
So this apparent actioner turns out to be a satire against our media-driven society, without ever losing the verve and energy of its antecedents!
And there is a self-referential layer about the business of filming , too. e.g.
Overweight, older good-natured sidekick to our hero: "In the movies, people like me are killed first; yet look at me - alive and kicking...not even wounded once." (and he stays that way!)
So - a wide range of viewers should all enjoy this...
And KEEP watching - the final denouement takes place AFTER the credits!