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  • Warning: Spoilers
    ====minor spoilers ahead====

    *I apologize for the length of this review, but reading so many inadequate comments on this movie provoked me to be a bit more verbose

    Swimming against the current is pretty much what Pyotr Buslov does with his second Bumer movie. It makes it twice more admirable that he does it against the current he himself helped create.

    Beginning from Brother (1997), the Russian cinema produced a myriad of gangster flicks, which contained great amount of gore and blood, several memorable anti-heroes, and ultimately very little criticism of a reality so fundamentally flawed, that to a westerner's eye it appeared as cartoonish and unrealistic, as say the reality presented in Bekmambetov's Nightwatch universe.

    Bumer (2003) was different, but too few people realized it. It had plenty a shiny metal, guns, girls and blood to mask itself well. But to a careful eye, it somehow didn't match. To begin with, the gangsters were running away, they were being hunted and endangered, but not by other gangsters, or crooked politicians or even ex-KGB agents, but by the same marginal characters that so often appear to be the victims in contemporary Russian cinema - truck drivers, drunk cops, villagers. In fact at one point even an old babushka managed to scare them. Contrary to the established existential model in which a gangster starts out small and poor and struggles to the top of the food chain with all means possible, in his first movie Buslov did something completely different. As the four friends were running away, the world itself became rougher and darker, up to the point when it consumed them all, together with the BMW.

    While the first film relied on certain quantity of raw violence to attract attention, the second conveys Buslov's real message in a much more artistic way.

    All begins with a flashback of the first movie's ending. Fast forward four years. Two of the four are dead, who they were matters no more to those who survived. Notably the introduction remains the most violent scene in the whole movie.

    From then on lyricism slowly begins to take over from the violence as Buslov's main expressive tool. Kostya is getting released from prison but his past is done. There is no vengeance , no scores to settle. There is no empire to build.

    Vladimir Vdovichenkov pulls out another awesome performance as the wandering Kostya. Already vanishing in the first movie, the cocky, violent thug has now completely disappeared, and instead an ordinary man who's accepted the loss of all and simply wants to live the rest of his days on his own, away from everything has emerged. But along comes Dasha, a teenage criminal with a plan and at one point the journey ahead somehow becomes too easy. Drive far enough, buy tickets, reach paradise. But Kostya can't go to paradise. He's too old, he's seen and done too much. They don't let people like him in paradise. It is this realization that ultimately helps Kostya make a decision that redeems him and lets him find his own "paradise on earth".

    Early in the movie Dimon makes a very interesting statement. The times are changing, says he to Kostya, but we learn very quickly that under the surface, this is not the case. Some things can never change. Thus, trying to change things in general might not be what is essential. Instead, changing one person might be all it takes.

    "I'm uncertain of what I'd have done in your place then" says Kot to Dimon at one point, but at the end he knows. I read someone complain of the sad ending. The concept of the movie would have not have worked without it.

    Despite what she does, Dasha is still a child, an Buslov tries very hard to make this point. There are no sex or nude scenes (in fact not even a kiss) with her in the movie. While Kostya's life is pretty much over at the beginning of the movie ("Tell your children to live better lives than we did" says he to Dimon), for her there is still a chance somewhere else. Ensuring she gets that chance becomes Kostya's chance and his decision at the end ultimately makes the difference between the two Bumer movies and much of the rest of what is produced cinematically in Russia today.

    Apart from the great story all work done on the movie is superb. The cinematography is simply amazing, with plenty a carefully situated and crafted shots, as intricate and subtle as in some of the most visually brilliant recent western movies. In fact some centerfold scenes were so skillfully made that in a weird way they reminded me of "Lost in Translation". As always Sergei Shnurov does his business flawlessly and the score is more than appropriate, with several exceptional songs, including "Svoboda" ("Freedom") with samples of Kipelov's "Ya Svoboden" ("I'm Free") which breaks through half-way through the movie and pretty much synthesizes the spirit it was created with.

    In the end Bumer 2 makes for a moving and highly artistic movie, much more in the fashion of "The Return" than of "Brother". For this, all of us who consider cinema, Russian and world, to be more than guns and gore, can only be thankful.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    My take on story - I will compare it to first film of Bumer, since I find sequel amazingly similar, unlike most people. It got really long, sorry for that.

    First movie, "Bumer" was about fragility of freedom and tragedy of those, who decide to oppose law in such regime as it is in Russia. Bumer 2 tries to pass this message again, only this time, it's written in big letters, painted red and followed with memorable quotes & song "Svoboda".

    Since many of messages and plots are subliminal, many might be confused with this movie, like who did this or why, so it's quite safe to say that to fully enjoy this flick, you have to think along and concentrate.

    Apart from violent events (which I miss, really) Bumer 2 isn't very different from prequel: post-Soviet Russia still makes totally mysterious, unbelievable world where anything is possible, nature is still breathtaking and just like in first movie, once glorious civilization feels still sad, abandoned and broken, simple Russian village life sounds still so idyllic and stress-free, in comparasion with city-rush... minus local thugs, of course... and a BMW-series car is still only thing protagonists have left in this godforsaken world. It was all shown in first movie and it is amplified in this one.

    Some more random observations: First movie played with word 'curse'. Four friends were cursed and whatever they touched or left behind, became tragic for others. Like Dimon's stolen Mercedes, which eventually killed a policeman, gift of a baseball bat, which turned youngster into crime, fake 2-dollar bill, which caused policeman to lose his hand, screwdriver from Dimon's wound - which later paralyzed truck driver, character "Rama" who left behind a child, etc etc.

    I was waiting for similar subliminal plots from Bumer 2, but there wasn't much left for Kot. True, Dimon had his last bit of unluck, freeing a friend caused Dasha's brothers death. During whole movie, Kostya made only one mistake, that was - refusing Dimon's offer - and killed Dimon by this and by conclusion, himself also. So basically, the theme was there, but whole movie was built around only one event instead of many. Which is good, because from reviews of Bumer 1, nobody has figured previous part out, it seems.

    Another interesting thing is that Bumer 2 feels like longest 2 hours in the world. And not in a bad sense. Some movies pass so quickly that it feels like 30 minutes. This one feels more like 5 hours. Is it because of thinking it requires to follow or are those 4 hours untold & unfilmed, and you add them in your head? Probably.

    I personally missed violence. All that mystical, fragile and hopeless world movie created around characters felt a bit... unused. Whatever the grand, philosophical message in this movie wasn't, about freedom and Russia and whatnot, movies are still for some fun and adrenaline. And judging from drama, I'm sure that more adrenaline and action could have been added in a way it wouldn't ruin anything really. Producers feel really competent. Maybe their talent was wasted/underutilized a bit here too.

    If you liked Bumer 1, and all the atmosphere, Bumer 2 delivers, and truckloads of it. Instead of brawn, wits are required this time, to fully enjoy it, but it's still as good - if not better - than first movie.
  • First, i must say that I really enjoyed watching the Bumer. It was an interesting and original experience of Russian cinema. In short, it's one of the best movies from Russia I have ever seen (the other one for me could be 9-ya rota so far). Therefore I went to cinema with high expectations. After watching this flick of Buslov there was not a frustration, but i realized that sequel did not manage to achieve the superb level of its predecessor. More or less this was completely another kind of story. Of course, there is a strong connection with events of the first film, though you are free to watch it even if you have not seen the first Bumer. It's not a flawless movie. There were several short disturbing ''black breaks'', which made Bumer: Film vtoroy a bit spotty. Also this made the plot scattered. One excellent thing about this is soundtrack. It's truly outstanding. With scenes of todays Russia, witty dialogs, tragicomic story - it is a good movie and a must-see for fans of Bumer, although some of them may be disappointed.
  • I think that is the main idea of both Bumer movies.

    Cops and KGB are the ultimate evil. Both movies send a message that one can not be a free and honest man/woman in Russia, without having any problems with cops. Well, of course, in the first movie, the four guys were just a regular extortionist gang… apparently, not very close to the concepts of "honesty" and "freedom", but the movie still sent a message that they were "good guys". Rama said a counter-argument: "Such are not us, such is the life around us." (1st movie).

    "The life has changed" (Dimon, 2nd movie). Dimon's life has changed because he chose not to mess with cops, but rather to deal with them by their rules. That's what most of us in this country actually do every day. We don't know about laws and *beep* like that: we only know that cops are people who really love cash and are endowed with power to do anything. No law is need if you're a friend of cops, and no law will protect you if you're not.

    Having earned money, he saves his friend from the jail by bribing the cops. Dimon's new life is controversial. "I don't know what I would do in a situation like that" – Cot said. After an accusation like that, Dimon thought that probably he was not completely right, although by doing what he did, he saved his own life and later a few years in the life of his friend (Cot had a 15-year sentence for armed robbery)… He realized that he had to sacrifice a large part of his honesty to this. Saving Cot's life a few minutes later, he probably restored his honesty, at least in the eyes of Cot.

    Dashka is a also a controversial character. Although she's a little bitch blackmailer, her victim is a large piece of that cop and KGB *beep* (some cop chief). So, eventually, she's depicted as a warrior of truth. I won't tell you how Dashka is related to Cot (watch the movie, it's the drama and love story part of it), I'll just tell you that the two finally decided that their free souls will not be able to survive in this country, and they decided to leave it. Dashka: "And who's gonna stay here?" Cot: "-- The cops!" They wanted to escape. But the cops got them. At least they killed Cot. Dashka escaped. Cot has joined his fellows in the gangstas' paradise. Dashka went to a paradise on earth (she stole some cash and went out of the country).

    Again, what's left here… The cops. It's a message to all those who live in this country. To think about it. From that point of view, the movie indeed is naturalistic. A story like that could hardly happen in reality, but the message it sends is a real one. We're not a free country. That's very important to understand.
  • gia_ubib930 May 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    This movie had a complete different storyline. The main actor Kostyan, gets a free pass out of jail and tries to make the most of a new beginning. But Dimon, who tries to talk things out with Kostyan about the past from the first 'Bumer', gets killed trying to save Kostyan's life. This was one of the only relations that I could pick up from the first 'Bumer'. Kostyan's new beginning ends up, to where he started from the beginning, in trouble! He almost gets knocked out, almost killed, but regains consciousness, and wants to start all over. He mixed himself up with Dashka again, even after she had guys after him, who almost killed him. I say this was a pretty stupid mistake again that Kostyan did.

    From the beginning, Kostyan just needed to pass on a letter to Dashka before he died, and just say that he is dead and this was a letter from him for you. Why does he mix himself up with her, this was unexpected in the movie, because I thought there would be a lot of relation to the first movie. This was a complete different storyline, I enjoyed the first more then this one. This is a movie for everyone to watch, because if you have seen the first one, you need to see the second one.
  • 1) Why did they kill the real brother of Dasha?

    In order not to pay to Dasha's brother, whose term was almost over, for replacing Kot (and Dasha's brother might not have agreed to spend 12 more years in prison). Also they would have to spare few hundred $ to get a new passport for Kot, but here they got it for free - all they needed is to replace Kot's photo in Dasha's brother passport.

    2) Who the hell would want to kill Kot?

    The same prison authorities. They are afraid that Kot may get caught for new crimes and when his fingerprints are matched with computer database they may bring his real name, and then their little business would be uncovered, and they are in trouble. But they can't kill Kot before he meets Dimon 'The Scalded' (who obviously paid for his freedom), so that's why they waited until after that meeting.

    3) Kot wanted to start over but wouldn't it be easier to sell his half of car show room than let the girl rob tourist agency?

    He can't even sell a single car - the one they are driving - because it was in the police database as being looked for. Regarding the car show room, after the death of Dimon it is unlikely that Kot may get anything for his 50% of Dimon's business - nobody except Dimon knew who he was, besides Kot was officially dead. Dimon might not have known the exact details of how Kot was freed and that now he is going under the name of Dasha's brother, and didn't make the changes necessary to make Dasha's brother a co-owner.

    4) When he met her, why didn't he just tell her the truth straight away?

    Kot waited Dasha to calm down before he announces that her brother is dead and that he, Kot, is indirectly responsible for his death.
  • Sequels are always a dilemma for directors, it's very easy to miss and Buslov gets a lot of credit for moving straight into a sequel as his next feature project.

    Instead of returning to the same old story twice, Buslov wisely chose to make the story about redemption and effectively introduced a new lead in the form of Dasha, a girl that seems fated to repeat the footsteps of Kostya's gang and played masterfully by Svetlana Ustinova.

    The story is sufficiently realistic, though he takes a few more chances than with the original there are no holes or dilemmas that would irritate. Casting is very high caliber and the music doesn't fail to deliver again. Cinematographically Buslov evolved to a slightly faster paced style, there is less moving camera than with the original Boomer (something I personally enjoyed), but close ups are very effectively utilized. On the other end, one or two sequences are overextended time wise, but not to the point of irritation.

    Note: unlike with the Brother films of Balabanov, it does help to see Boomer 1 prior to watching this film.
  • As a commercial film made by a young director with not at all famous actors,"Bumer 2" seems to be perfect. It's not simply a well-made criminal film. The plot development and acting are so dramatic,lyrical and natural at the same time,watching this film I couldn't believe that it's a sequel of not so well composed debut film of the same director. Sometimes this film seems a pure "arthouse"film,becouse of artistic completion of every shots and adequate atmosphere which fills up them.

    It's not only the triumph of the young director Peter Buslov,but also so of the best producers of contemporary Russia(Sergei Selyanov and Sergei Chliyants) and of screenwriters(among them we can find the author of "Eiforiya",Ivan Vyrypaev). If on commercial base films of such a level continue to be made and to receive applause from ordinary moviegoers,Russian film industry will soon reach the top of the world cinema.
  • While Bumer 1 was a trivial gangster movie with not much substance, Bumer 2 (or Heaven on Earth) is a mark of a genius. It is very subtle and to an unsuspecting viewer it may seem not much. There is a plot but not much action: no flying bullets, no blood and no revenge.

    Nevertheless, today I watched it for the third time and it was even better then the first two. Do you have to be familiar with the Russian culture to understand it? Not really. If you ever felt like the system's got you or if you felt like there is no way out - you'd get it, I promise.

    One of my favorite movies so far.
  • "1) Why did they kill the real brother of Dasha (Offcource to let Kot go n kill him outside the prison so no suspicion... but wouldn't it just be easier to "just" kill Kot like they killed Dashas brother and let the brother live (offcource than the movie would be 20 min long, but still its pretty stupid decision by the prison authority)" They killed her brother so they could give Kot his documents and get him out of the prison (Dasha's brother's sentence was about to end). They wanted to free Kot because they were paid to by Kot's friend on the outside...eh...Dimon.

    "2) Who the hell would want to kill Kot? It obviously was some fat "businessman", but what was the motives? He was involved in killing of FSB agent but it seemed like no1 knew about it... or maybe its cos of that situation on a petrol station? I thought it was Dimon, but than he died protecting him so that was really great start of the movie. Buslov was thinking a lot on that i guess. As far as i can see no1 had serious reason to kill Kot." The cops wanted to kill Kot because he was too much of a liability, if he was caught by police again the whole thing about his release from prison would come back to haunt the cops who freed him. Aka if he is caught his fake passport (the one with Dasha's brother's name) isn't going to fly and that would start an investigation that eventually would lead to the prison cops who were paid to free him and who killed Dasha's brother.

    "3) Kot wanted to start over but wouldn't it be easier to sell his half of car show room than let the girl rob tourist agency? He knew she was desperate at that stage of her life... he could predict she would do smthn stupid..." That question doesn't really make much sense.

    "4) When he met her, why didn't he just tell her the truth straight away? Or he could just give her a letter n say that her bro is dead n then leave..." He felt responsible for her brother's death, because her brother was killed because of him.

    Now my own opinion, honestly I liked the first one better, the second one was kind of kind of riding on the tittle a little bit even though it is still a worthy movie to watch.
  • dellarocco12 April 2006
    Do not expect this movie to be similar to the first "Bumer". Coz it is not. You better try to think of it as the one trying to become more mature, like a teenager trying to grow up. I guess it did. Though, with doing so, by becoming "smarter", it also became somewhat boring. It felt like the movie lacks some rhythm, some drive, which made the first one the classics of its genre. I'm not saying Bumer 2 was bad, because it wasn't. It was just…I don't know…weak? Unshaped? Misguided? Actors weren't pathetic, but it certainly wasn't enough. The plot was OK, but it lacked sense. Some important thoughts were brought up, but the development of those was totally lacking. Sad enough, but the four mobsters on their BMW made a far greater impact...
  • find_6663 May 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    Someone said that the main idea behind the movie is corruption of cops etc... i disagree n think Stupidity is.

    These 4 guys as many other at that time thought that they are above the law n they survive by pointing guns on other ppl(as Dimon in 2nd movie said: "We do not run with guns n just rob for cash anymore."). The end of 1st movie is tragic, but i think the idea is that ppl like them eventually die. N this life is not colorful but just wasted (Kot said: "U don't want a car like that). I don't understand y most ppl have sympathy for this guys, they are exactly the same as the ones who took Dimon's white Mercedes, they robed PC store, they killed cops, who were not bad and died protecting civilians.

    The second movie has similar idea, but i don't understand many of it. 1) Why did they kill the real brother of Dasha (Offcource to let Kot go n kill him outside the prison so no suspicion... but wouldn't it just be easier to "just" kill Kot like they killed Dashas brother and let the brother live (offcource than the movie would be 20 min long, but still its pretty stupid decision by the prison authority)

    2) Who the hell would want to kill Kot? It obviously was some fat "businessman", but what was the motives? He was involved in killing of FSB agent but it seemed like no1 knew about it... or maybe its cos of that situation on a petrol station? I thought it was Dimon, but than he died protecting him so that was really great start of the movie. Buslov was thinking a lot on that i guess. As far as i can see no1 had serious reason to kill Kot.

    3) Kot wanted to start over but wouldn't it be easier to sell his half of car show room than let the girl rob tourist agency? He knew she was desperate at that stage of her life... he could predict she would do smthn stupid...

    4) When he met her, why didn't he just tell her the truth straight away? Or he could just give her a letter n say that her bro is dead n then leave...

    I liked both movies, but i hope that there wont be the 3rd movie, cos i think Buslov will lose it... and the story is pretty much over.

    P.S. 4 some reason i think i missed some parts in the movie... Mine was 1h 50 min long. I downloaded from net so i think it might be not full so i miss out on some things (lol living in New Zealand i gotta wait till some1 brings DVD, maybe in couple weeks at the most) ps yall