25 October 2005 | AndreiPavlov
A popular Russian "black" comedy
By current standards it is really ridiculous to call it a "black comedy". "Death Becomes Her" and "Pulp Fiction" are black comedies. And among the Russian ones "Deja vu" is a good candidate. So, here goes problem number one. Being rather light-hearted it lacks colour badly (suppose they could make it in colour back in 1966). And sometimes it lacks style (the background voice making wise comments in a "TV news" manner is a downer). This is very subjective fault-finding but quite decisive to me. There are no complaints regarding the actors' performance and the story is fine with its "Robin Hood" touch. There are many memorable scenes ("Hamlet" performance, the Soviet shopping, a funny monologue about "our" Shakespeare, etc.) and tons of enjoyable sayings. Most these things are, unfortunately (or fortunately), can be easily understood by older Russian people (especially of older generations) only. As to people from other countries (and even younger Russian audience) – there will be some problems in catching its tune. Just to expand on this matter: for Russians, the movie is one good piece of entertainment, nostalgia, and a historical lesson (clothes, relations between people during the Soviet era, first businessmen a la "spekulianti", Soviet "drama clubs", etc.). For the rest of the world... - hardly. If you live in some sort of USA, was born there, have been living there your whole life, have just watched this movie and ready to give it a 10 right away with a frank heart, post me a few lines please.
It is a good movie but not great. Upon the DVD box it is written: "popular videos". It really belongs to that class of movies - "Russian popular videos" that is.
If it were in colour and without that bumbling voice behind the camera, the mark from my side would have been better.
Quite objectively, it is 6 out of 10 (but there should be a place for this film in the national top 1000 of course). Thanks for attention.