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.
on 3 August 2011
Young man finding a place in the world after the army. A story that can take place anywhere. But this one filmed well the story of Daniel who just left the army. As the film progresses you feel that there is more to what he lets out about his army time. This is clearly somebody who has seen dark times but at the same time does still function with human feelings like love and protecting friends and even people he does not know but clearly are the weaker link in society (the German begger, the woman from the trolleybus etc). A beautiful moving story with a good bit of violence and booze added to it. The end result the emergence of a "good" gangster. A classical figure in Russian films.
Set in St. Petersburg, where the fall of communism has led to anarchy
between competing sections of the Russian mafia.
Into this steps a young man fresh out of Army service, who comes to stay with his older
brother who (as it turns out) is himself a hit man. Before long, the younger brother has
taken over for the older, and is coolly and efficiently killing off targets and double-crossing
Sort of a combination art film and gangster action film, this never does much more than entertain,
and there's a certain phony James Bond quality to some of the violence.
But it's never dull, and has some nice subtle touches, wry comments on the ruthlessness
of capitalism and the 'free market' taken to the extreme, and solid performances.
on 2 June 2014
Totally loved this movie.
Story of a young lad fresh out of the Russian Army, goes to help his brother who is getting into deep water with mobsters.
Superb acting along with some harsh realities of violence, love and life, this film will leave you with a smile on your face!
on 16 September 2010
There are some great films coming out of Russia and Brother is one of them. The plot is simple enough, Danila has just left the army and is finding life rather difficult and he has a brush with the police, who offer him a job. Not interested, he accepts the request from his brother to work for him in St Petersburg (or "Peter" as it is called by the characters in the film). Danila becomes is sub-contracted to become his hit-man and he gets tangled in a web of intrigue and revenge. All well and good, the killings and chases are offset by a narrative that is uniquely Russian - we are diverted into Danila's humanity with his love affair with a married woman and the befriending of an itinerant who lives in a cemetry with his friends and with whom Danila drinks vodka. In this, we are given discourses on life, politics and philosophy, the sort of discourses one finds in the works of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. Indeed, the plot maybe simple, but we find that relationships throw up a great deal of complexity, I guess that this is what fascinates the Russian psyche and this has been woven into this story.
The biggest star in this film, however is Petersburg. Filmed in all its wonderful decaying glory - beautiful buildings falling to bits - with such a wonderful location, you cannot go wrong.