Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cargo 200 (Alexei Balabanov, 2007)

***
Russia



A moody Soviet slasher flick with a strange notion of social conscience. Set in 1984, it's woven around an impotent police chief with party membership, who kidnaps a teenager and devises increasingly sadistic ways to humiliate and torture her.

Whatever points director Alexei Balabanov wants to make about the corruption and zombie-like depersonalisation of USSR on the cusp of the perestroika are undermined by his ambivalent attitude towards the victim. He treats her and her horrific degradation as just a plot point.

The story is reportedly 'based on real events' - which is part of what makes it such compulsive viewing - though Balabanov appears to have taken considerable poetic licence.

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