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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

"Gogol and Apocalypse"

10/10
Author: Andrei Pavlov from Archangel, Russia
4 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This time I shall spare no words of praise.

From what I've seen, I can suggest that this film is one of the best in its field - i.e. among the classics put on screen. What I enjoy immensely is that it can hardly be called "a TV theatrical play", while the action goes inside different apartments and outside. Also I am quite sure that the scenes and words follow the original play with the proper accuracy. Besides, there is a natural feel about this production and each actor is in the right place. There is no "bad choice" here. Everybody shines bright. Being flesh and blood the actors somehow look like caricatures. It seems as if the characters had stepped into our world right from the pages of the book. For a living being: Gorodnichiy looks too solid and "pumped-up", Khlestakov looks too quirky and fabulous, Zemlyanika looks too pathetic and goofy, etc. That "too" refers to human beings, but as to the film itself, they are just what I expect them to be in the original book. It is such a big pity when some actor spoils a picture with everything and everybody else being the right choice (for me an example of this disappointment is "Blade Runner").

We were reading "Revizor" at school. Benefits of our education. Did we like it? Well, as far as I remember, we, boys, laughed quite a bit when this Gogol's masterpiece was being read aloud during our Literature lessons. Two of my classmates were even nicknamed "Dobchinsky i Bobchinsky". They were friends, once they were given roles (to read out loud in class) of those two nosey fellows from "Revizor" and since then wherever they arrived the saying rang: "Ha-ha, Dobchinsky-Bobchinsky!" (the real names of the pupils were Nikolay Kuchin and Sergey Tihonov). As to the original book and the film itself, the mockery goes on and on and on from the very beginning of the play till the grand finale.

You can't make a better bashing propaganda movie than "Bronenosets Potyomkin". You can't make a version of "Hamlet" better than the one with Mr Innokenti Smoktunovsky. You simply cannot surpass "Solyaris" (1972) no matter how hard you try and how many tons of dollars you stuff into production. And you will never repeat the success of our western/musical "Chelovek s bulvara Kaputsinov" (1987), when the people of our country were going to the cinemas again and again to rewatch it, discussed it in the streets, and memorized its catchy one-liners. What I'm driving at is that this "Revizor" version has achieved the level of perfection. I will gladly skip any further reincarnation of this classic piece because "I don't caaaare".

One of these days I noticed a book with a strange title "Gogol and Apocalypse". When looking through the pages I found out that "Revizor" could be considered to be much more than satire and buffoonery. Khlestakov is the image of devil who comes before the end of the world and lures people to believe that he is the Saviour. The people are not ready for the Judgement Day and try to "pay off" from the punishment, while the devil makes fun of them all the way... How about this dark side of the play? Just think it over. Mr Nikolay Vasilyevich Gogol had brains indeed.

The "fools and roads" problem is here. The national phenomenon of "pokazuha" is here. The disaster of "collective corruption" is here in its full flood. The embodiment of dozens of Russian proverbs (related to "tongue", "fear", and "stupidity") is here too. As to buffoonery, I find the scenes with Khlestakov being drunk and furious most impressive. The young gambler and blabbermouth resembles a grasshopper in his rage while exercising his speech talent and shooting warnings in all directions. Around him the powerful mature men and women sink in absolute awe, start trembling with angst and begging for mercy. The erratic performance of the whole cast makes my sides hurt and my mind go in ecstasy. As to the pure greatness, the famous "mute scene" at the end is simply the best. It snapshots the exasperating and frustrated existence of busybodies.

If you are keen on classic Russian Literature, Russian cinema, and rich-flavoured Russian language (unlike the bawdy scum spoken nowadays here and there - try any TV crime serial to taste it), don't fail to watch this film as well as "Kanikuly Petrova i Vasechkina, obyknovennye i neveroyatnye" (1984), which, by the way, very wisely spoofs "Revizor" (instead of the demonic figure of Almighty Inspector there is Omnipotent Hooligan) and keeps on the finest national way of highly artistic joking.

I beg your pardon for such an extensive use of long sentences, mixed thoughts and memories. Hope that you haven't lost the main idea yet: this film is a smashing treat.

Heavy, lengthy, and prolonged applause to "Revizor" - 10 out of 10. Thank you for attention.

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