Sunday, August 16, 2009

MIff 2009 - the rest

So there were two more movies left in my decathlon.

Dead Snow
A Norwegian movies about Nazi zombies. There's little more that needs to be said. If you're someone who enjoys a concept as ridiculous as this, then you're going to like this movie. It's played pretty much exactly the way it should be - for laughs, with scarcely believable gore, and great comic timing, and visceral sight gags. The nods to movies such as Braindead along the way are a good indication that the makers know and are a part of their intended audience. Rollicking good fun, without any good taste in sight.

I was a little unsure what to make of this movie. It was the last one on my list, and on a Friday night after a couple of drinks, I wasn't sure I was wanting to sit through a Russian film about a morphine addict in the late 1910s. It sounded dreary, and likely to put me to sleep. I grabbed a seat near an aisle, should I need to make an early exit.

The movie, based on actual memoirs of a Russian doctor in a remote country town (Mikhail Bulgakov), traces his addiction to morphine rather laconically. Through a series of anecdotal episodes - cutely titled like a period silent film - we see his addiction grow, but this plot almost seems to be merely the thread which links the stories together. We are made privy to the doctor's inexperience in his work, and various scenes which paint the backdrop of the impending Russian revolution, when he deals with the local aristocracy.

This movie doesn't make a huge impression. It tells a story, and seems not to invite judgement; which for a topic such as addiction, is actually refreshing. There are humourous moments, and also some gruesome ones - the amputation scene is pretty confronting - but all in all, the movie just seems to roll along. Don't go expecting some profound intellectual Russian arthouse exposition about the nature of humanity, but expect to be entertained for a couple of hours.

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