During the 1980s, Soviet authorities hunt for a serial killer who picks his victims in railway stations and commuter trains and lures them into the woods.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Dr. Alexandr Bukhanovsky
...
...
...
Gorbunov
Radu Amzulescu ...
Federenko
...
Mrs. Burakov
András Bálint ...
Ignatiev
Géza Balkay ...
Procurator
László Váradi Balogh ...
Peasant
Zsolt Biro ...
Older Gay Man
...
Tatevsky
Balázs Csapo ...
Gayy Partner
Imre Csuja ...
Front Detective
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Storyline

Based on the true story of a Russian serial killer who, over many years, claimed over 50 victims, mostly under the age of 17. In what was then a Communist state, the police investigations were hampered by bureaucracy, incompetence and those in power. The story is told from the viewpoint of the detective in charge of the case. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You don't want to know what he does... You just want to know when he's caught. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong, graphic violence and related language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

25 February 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ciudadano X  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(DeLuxe)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The characters of Fesitov and Burakov were both real people who investigated the actual Chikatilo killings, yet their ranks and positions were changed in the movie. Historically, Major Mikhail Fetisov was sent from Moscow in order to investigate the killings (in the film he is already in Rostov as a Colonel heading the militia) while Victor Burakov was a civilian forensic expert (in the film he is a Police Lieutenant) assigned by Fesitov to head the investigation. There was no Central Committee comprised of Communist Party and KGB men above the two (this was a plot device created for the film to show Soviet bureaucratic methods) and the main reason why the case took so long was that the investigators interviewed over 150,000 people trying to narrow down who the killer could be. The mistaken release of Chikatilo, and the botched blood-semen test, was accurate as it occurred in the investigation. See more »

Goofs

The film spans twelve years, yet Lt. Viktor Burakov's children don't age. See more »

Quotes

Bukhanovsky: It is embarrassing to see grown men run from their responsibilities. It is like seeing your parents drunk for the first time. They are afraid. To be a psychiatrist in this country is to be an expert on paranoia... whether you meant to be or not.
Burakov: [to Dr. Bukhanovsky] Why aren't you afraid?
Bukhanovsky: I'm sorry. Do I look like a man of courage to you? I've always been interested in abnormal psychology. Which is a dangerous thing in the Soviet state.
See more »

Connections

References Citizen Kane (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Too Good For A TV Release
27 February 2005 | by (Eastbourne, UK) – See all my reviews

I remember following the case of Andre Chicatillo in the newspapers while I was living in South Africa. They had photos of him sitting in his cage while being prosecuted in court. Not, as it turned out, to protect the court members, but to protect him from the public. This was fascinating, albeit morbid, reading. I later heard that a film had been made by HBO about the case, but it was made for American TV. Bummed! Strangely, CITIZEN X got a limited cinematic release in South Africa. I charged down to the local Ster Kinekor complex and duly bought a ticket (I was alone; my girlfriend at the time was only interested in the likes of STEEL MAGNOLIAS and FRIED GREEN TOMATOES). Wow! What a brilliant film. Why wasn't it released to a wider audience? Had it not been made for TV, it could have got an Oscar nomination or 2. There is no way to spoil the ending; who the killer is is never kept from the audience. Jeffrey DeMunn portrays a truly terrifying psycho. He is calm, downtrodden, considered a failure by his wife and subjected to constant ridicule and humiliation by his superiors at work. By committing these horrendous acts, he gets to feel strong, powerful.

Fighting to catch him against all odds is a pathologist, played to excellent turn by Stephen Rea, in one of his strongest performances. He must battle the snail-pace of Russian bureaucracy, the primitive resources he has at his disposal and (above all) the refusal by his superiors to acknowledge that the USSR even has a serial killer. The general in charge (Joss Ackland) says that serial killers are "a decadent, Western phenomenon". Only Donald Sutherland is willing to help, but his help must be under the counter. The ever-brilliant Max Von Sydow plays a Russian psychiatrist who breaks protocol and decides to help the investigators in their quest. It is the first time in Russian history that a shrink is used to build a profile of a serial killer still on the loose, and he has everything to lose if his involvement is made public.

CITIZEN X is brilliantly acted, well written and the music and editing only add to the tension and theme of the film. Excellent support from a horribly underused Imelda Staunton and a real sense of impending doom make CITIZEN X a film worth seeing. This was too good to be made for TV


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