Third film based on Boris Akunin's "Priklucheniya Erasta Petrovicha Fandorina" series of novels. On a train from St. Petersburg to Moscow general Khrapov was killed and no one else but ... See full summary »
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Third film based on Boris Akunin's "Priklucheniya Erasta Petrovicha Fandorina" series of novels. On a train from St. Petersburg to Moscow general Khrapov was killed and no one else but Erast Petrovich is under suspicion because the killer pretended to be Fandorin. There are initials BG on the handle of the knife Khrapov was stabbed with, the initials belong to a terrorist organization which keeps both capital cities (Moscow and St. Petersburg) in fear. This time Fandorin is not the only one trying to solve the crime, general Pozharski, a famous detective takes over the investigation... Written by
In total now there are three movies inspired by Akunin's novels and each of them gives us quite a different view on the main hero - Erast Petrovich Fandorin, both in appearance and in his manners. In "Statsky Sovetnik" we were promised a grown-up version of Fandorin, played by Oleg Menshikov - the honored "Kostik" of Russian cinematography...
Well, Menshikov as Fandorin was... a unique experience. I'm still not sure whether I liked him or not, but I wasn't half as horrified by his acting as some other people. In the film he looks much better than on the billboard (and whoever made that billboard deserves to be fired, for that thing is very very lame), has the posture many modern actors would die for if they were to play an officer and can be quite amusing at times. Of course, this Fandorin is also a snob, who raises his chin too high and doesn't look at the ground he is walking on, and has a strange habit of staring into space while others are talking to him :))) But seriously, he's not that bad, mainly for a reason his part here is not leading.
The leading part here is played by Mikhalkov, who (no matter what one can said about him as a person) actually is a great actor, with no wide range of parts admittedly. He's also one of the best Russian directors ("Urga", "Burnt by the Sun" etc.), and helped Yankovsky to make this movie (I wouldn't go as far as to call him the "de-facto" director, but his touch here is noticeable). And guess what? Mikhalkov is not just good as Pozharsky, he is great! "What a bastard!" - we can say about him with that kind of admiration in our voice, that is not possible to express in a written form. And then we can giggle. Because he IS funny.
The supporting actors are good too. Oksana Fandera as Igla is the best of all "Fandorin"'s ladies that graced us with their presence on the screen so far. She's so touching in her vulnerable toughness, one cannot help but admire her. Maria Mironova as Julie is not bad either - strangely innocent and weird, neither too smart nor extremely loyal - she is woman enough to drive men mad with her little quirks. Both of these women were good with their roles. Too bad, the same cannot be said about Emilia Spivak, who plays Fandorin's lover - yet another one "emancipe" female Esfir Litvinova. She's even worse than Varya of "Gambit" I swear. Varya at least could look good without baring her breasts. But there's not a lot of Esfir, so she's not enough to ruin the film.
Mashkov as Kozyr is as macho as ever and this actually works as an advantage. But I'm somewhat troubled by his striking resemblance to A. Banderas here. Certainly not his best part, but he's good. Quite good. Khabensky is also good as Green and I enjoyed his acting, but it would've been interesting if he and Gorbunov switched their roles. Gorbunov has just the right shade of cold and unforgivable Green in his eyes, although Akhmed played by him is nothing to complain about either. In his and Mikhalkov's part during the interrogation they seem to be in the same league as actors.
Whoever played Emelya and Snegir also did a good job. Tabakov disappointed me slightly as he seems not to have a good grasp on his character, like he is not completely sure what he is supposed to play here. Bondarchuk is also amusing, but hardly believable. Oh, and my personal favourite of supporting cast is the one who plays a double-agent who owns the place, where Erast meets Esfir for the first time. He dies too quickly, but for the time he is on the screen he is so wonderfully and pathetically neurotic, you (once again) cannot help but admire him. That of course is an IMHO.
Soundtrack is OK, I guess. The "action" theme I liked a lot, but educated people say Stravinsky made it a long time ago and wasn't even mentioned in the list. Now, for the final song... It is horrible. It is as horrible as everyone says it is. I was forewarned about its badness and thought people were overreacting about it. Well, they weren't. It is atrocious and doesn't have anything to do with the movie. As soon as Fandorin decides to work for the Great Prince and closes the door behind himself - rise from your seats and leave (or push on the "stop" button, if you're watching it at home). It's absolutely terrible.
In fact do it right after THE explosion (the second one, not the one at the Ice Palace). Because those few minutes of the film after that scene are almost as bad and vulgar as the song. Not only the ending of the book was changed - after all "I'm an artist, I see things in my own way", but it was so disgracefully changed as if it was done by some amateurs that did not know anything about what they were doing. But not as bad as the song, though. Nothing can surpass the song.
So, 8 out of 10, because it is a good movie that doesn't feel like it is too long. I look forward to seeing the TV-version of it, hopefully they'll get rid of the song. A DVD of it isn't a "must have" thing, but I believe would be a nice addition to one's collection. Once a licensed version comes out, I'll add it to mine.
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