Thursday, December 07, 2006



is a murky dark mystery, not quite a thriller, set in Russia during the period when some Russian archives were beginning to become available.

It's an interesting film, though not a very exciting or compelling one. Indeed, the main problem with the movie is that it is hard to see how the events, as they unfold, are important enough to the characters to justify the things they do. Had the audience, or more importantly the characters, known at the beginning what they know at the end, the actions would have made sense. But they don't. It's not enough for the scriptwriter to know that what they are doing is worth the trouble.

It stars
Daniel Craig, the new James Bond, in an earlier (2005) outing, together with Yekaterina Rednikova, a Russian actress.

The acting is solid, but curiously lacking in flamboyance. Rednikova plays perfectly a dark, character study, as if the movie were really about her. There are some hints, especially at the end, that it may once have been intended just that way. However, this is an English language movie dominated by Craig, and Rednikova, who plays a prostitute/party-girl, though attractive, is so moody, unseductive, and generally hostile that she seems to be in the wrong profession.

I didn't dislike the film, and it's fun for the authentic Russian ambiance, the chance to see the pre-Bond Craig and, even if the basic plot has a host of antecedents, a story telling style that's a bit different from usual.

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