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Whenever I come across Sonja Savic in a movie, I think, "with so many beautiful Serbian girls they just had to choose this one". This time I didn't think it, at least not entirely, because it is a somewhat logical choice: which Serbian actress from the 80s was as unattractive as Sonja that she could play a tomboy convincingly? None. She is the Serbian answer to Sonja Locke, Clint Eastwood's ex which he used to stick into every one of his films back in the 70s. Sonja Locke (they even share the same name) looked androgynous, similarly to this Sonja, the Red Sonja (her family background is Yugoslavia's upper class i.e. the Communist elite).
However, although she may be physically suited for this role, there is still the important issue of her minimal talent, i.e. the fact that she got her foot into the movie door only because her mom a high-ranking senior official of the Communist Party - ordered Yugoslavian directors to start hiring her. So we are still left with the problem of Red Sonja's over-acting.
Bata Zivojinovic, Ljubisa Samardzic, Milena Dravic: only three of many examples of naturally gifted actors from the YU-movie era. They rarely look as if they're acting, and that is the whole essence of a good performance, the main goal of any actor. When a performance looks like a performance (rather than the character being played) then the actor has failed. Unlike Yugoslavia's best actors, Sonja Savic seems unnatural and in this movie very animated; she often performs her roles as if she's working for children's theater. Most of the mediocre, insecure actors try to compensate for their lack of ability by exaggerating their performances, especially in comedies. Some viewers (those easily fooled and those with no eye for acting at all) are easy targets for such dilettantes. Such viewers can even be impressed by this kind of bogus, caricatured style of acting.
Sonja offers nothing more than a superficial caricature of her character. Yes, this is a comedy, and a certain degree of exaggeration is normal - but only if it is funny. She isn't. As mediocre as she is in dramas, Sonja is even worse in comedies. Nowhere is this more evident than when she shares a scene with great veteran actors, such as is the case at the beginning when she talks with Zoran Radmilovic about her nose. Watch his convincing, relaxed, amusing performance and then compare that to her phony, unfunny amateur style. A huge difference in quality.
But it's not only Sonja's fault that her character does not work. The screenwriter shares some of the guilt as well. The film begins illogically, with Decka asking to have her nose fixed, and yet a few minutes later she gets groped by a good-looking guy, her pal. So she does have a male admirer, which does not help in making her appear as an outsider, which was obviously the intention. It would have made a lot more sense to not have any men interested, at the outset. On what basis does Decka totally reject her appearance if she has a popular guy chasing after her?
The illogicality of her character continues when she complains to Milena that she still has not had sex; yet, we previously witnessed Red Sonja reject the sexual advances of her (more-or-less) hunky friend, the one she gets along with well. This is totally contradictory hence stupid. What is her character's motivation? It's muddled. What woman of the Decka type who seeks love and acceptance - would actually refuse flirtation attempts from a guy popular among other girls? (Keep in mind that Decka is 22 years old, not 14, so her ambivalence and contradictory statements regarding sex make little sense.) Why won't she have sex with him? Does she even want it?
Another example of bad writing i.e. her baffling behaviour is when Decka tells her father that she is embarrassed by him. She says "who the hell has their parents accompany them (at this age) to the bus station?" But then, a moment later when she sees her acquaintances in the bus, she suddenly hugs and kisses him passionately instead of pushing him away. What is that supposed to mean? Is she embarrassed or not? Make up your mind.
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