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Having participated in various debates on resocialization projects, I was absorbed by a thought provoking question: what is it, in fact, that may change us? Is it another person whom we trust or is it a powerful event that we would have never foretold before, something we call 'life experience'? And I believe that this question, which has not been fully answered so far, accurately resembles the gist of this movie where a thief begins to give others for free, where a bandit begins to consider justice as supreme, where a selfish man begins to love...
Yes, this is the major aspect that the movie depicts: a change of heart through a terribly brutal lesson of living. But, besides this factor that makes the film challenging and particularly captivating, there is something more within this highlighted aspect: the way all is executed... no 'ornaments', no hypocrisy, no preaches of conversion from the outside but EXPERIENCE which makes people the way they are, which makes you the way you are. We, as viewers, are led to the reality that the main character, Brute (Til Schweiger) goes through: poor Romanian orphans, innocent Gypsy girls and boys being treated as mechanisms behind which lies good business and great profits for the 'politically correct.' Vulgarity, obscenity is there for some very important reason since without it, we would have no insight into feelings and emotions that the main character experiences within the 'walls of hell.' I admit that the movie sometimes becomes very depressing, some scenes may upset you terribly. Nevertheless, you later find the meaning in it.
The particularly moving plot is Elena's love to Brute. A 12 year-old Gypsy girl knows that her health is weak, she is aware that she will pass away soon and she fills her days with a desperate quest for feelings. She cannot stand the fact that Brute makes love to Mara (Polly Walker), a young woman who sacrifices her life for these kids. Elena is jealous and believes that Brute should be after her rather than after the mature woman. Brute shows his still 'pretended' feelings a bit reluctantly but, as a matter of fact, it appears to be Elena that changes him from within. He gets the most unpredictable gift anyone can receive... The scenes when her coffin is being carried out of the orphanage or when Elena's little brother runs to her empty bed in hope of finding her alive are the ones that will make your eyes genuinely teary.
The great merit of the movie, except for its psychological qualities, is the musical score. If there were not for the wonderful tunes, the film would occur too sophisticated to watch, too upsetting to become endurable. Yet, this music provides us with positive emotions, not sentimental but pleasant ones and leaves a long lasting impact upon the memory about this film. The rhythms is terrific!
Some people complained about the language as well as some performances. I agree that the performances, except for the great British actor, John Hurt's, are rather flawed here. Mr Hurt gives, as usual, a strong performance. Schweiger in the lead, however, is more a macho till the every end than a convincingly changed man. Polly Walker is more an attractive woman than a good actress here. Nevertheless, the content shines beyond all the rest to such extend that we as viewers sometimes skip such aspects. Some dialogs, images of these children, the picture itself are enough to understand the film.
I will put it this way: if you want to see a pleasant film to make your day (perhaps a rainy one), don't choose this movie. You won't like it with such intentions since it is not a sort of film we can watch with a cup of tea and some biscuits. No, not any relaxation whatsoever! BANDYTA is truly a film that requires self-preparation. You must be ready for thought provoking content and maintain open to things that contemporary movie buffs usually fail to notice. If you feel ready to see the very core of brutal but transforming life events, this film will be a memorable experience for you, something you will never forget.
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