A tale about a strange young man, Bulcsú, the fellow inspectors on his team, all without exception likeable characters, a rival ticket inspection team, and racing along the tracks... And a tale about love.
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Károly Ujj Mészáros
Szabolcs Bede Fazekas,
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Ghost trains and ghostly characters, figuratively speaking of course, are what run through the perpetual night of this underground metro system. Bulcsú's (Sándor Csányi) life that once was, on the surface, where the real people go home after work, who go to the movies or a fine restaurant is now replaced by the dark, cold and solitude arena of his new dwellings. He, and his motley crew of ragtag metro ticket Kontrollers must patrol the trains that run these City dwellers back and forth and with daily ritual, check that no one dare come down into their world for a free ride. With indifferent passengers, a possible love interest, a regime set on competition and to top it all a mysterious serial killer at large, Kontroll is a dark and bleak comedy of the world of the ticket inspector, who, in the end must keep this Metro system running. If not, what would be the worst that could happen, if they ever lost control? Dare you ride here for free, too? Written by
"Kontroll" gives me new hope that Hungarian filmmakers are finally capable to make pictures that appeal to audiences at home, movie critics (and probably also foreign audiences) alike. An excellent, though a bit weird mixture of satirical comedy, mystical drama and thriller. The metro stations become a world of their own, the neon lights create a new reality.
While in the beginning the film focuses on a whole group of ticket controllers and we expect a satirical comedy about their lives, in the second half the storyline concentrates on the terrifying experiences of Bulcsú, a man with a mysterious past. He used to be an artist or in some other kind of creative business not specified further, but left this life for unknown reasons and started to live in the metro. It also becomes clear that for some reason he is not able to leave the metro system until the end
when he overcomes the dark forces (that probably have also been lurking
inside him). Everything about this story is deeply irrational (except for the satirical elements that are in some ways very close to reality :-)), this is just a terrible world, where love means the only hope (I was a bit reminded of Terry Gilliam's "Brazil").
An excellent movie that I would also strongly recommend to foreign viewers. I don't know if this will ever come to other countries, but I would very much like it to be so. So that Hungary could be put back on the landscape of international moviemaking.
P.s.: The Budapest multiplex I saw this in was absolutely packed with people. I was astonished what a great success "Kontroll" has become in Hungary, because I think that most people in the audience there have probably never seen anything that could only remotely be called arthouse - and "Kontroll" wasn't exactly an easy popcorn movie....
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