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|Index||13 reviews in total|
I watched this movie with my family in a movie theater in
Saint-Petersburg. I chose this movie by accident because other movies
would start in an hour or so and we didn't have any time.
Anyway :) having no expectations at all, I really enjoyed the movie. Honestly, i have to say it is one of the best Russian movies I have ever watched. The story is great (Boris Akunin), casting is great, sound effects are good, decorations are great and actors play very well. You can easily see that a lot of money, effort and talent is put to this movie. It kinda shows the new rise of Russian cinematography and that makes me particularly proud of this movie.
This movie is a sort of continuum of the movie Tureckij Gambit (Both are part of Boris Akunin's book series). The two movies are not linked together however, except having the same hero (Fandorin).
I recommend this movie to everyone. Way to go Russia ! (y)
I've read the book "Statskiy sovetnik" before. When i heard the news that a movie is being made on that novel, i was wondering why THAT novel. I was curious how the director would manage to make a dynamic movie on a rather specific and long story. Especially knowing that the director is rather young and some sort of a beginner in making such "BIG" movies. But Filipp Yankovsky had really made it! By the way he is a son of a very famous Russian theater\movie actor - Oleg Yankovsky. Great dialogues and closeups. Famous Russian director - Nikita Mikhalkov, shows GREAT acting skills, playing Prince Pozharsky, sometimes even drawing most of attention from the main character - Fandorin. All characters surely showed their best in this great dynamic movie. Those who are interested in Russian history will certainly gain a lot of experience, because Akunin pays very much attention to all historical details. Great movie!
The main expectations from this movie for me was the image of Fandorin. I must admit that this Fandorin might be quite acceptable for everyone who read Akunin's books about him. Of course, everyone has it's own Fandorin in their mind, but Menshikov did his job pretty well and might be called as "Fandorin for everyone", so - no complains! No complains for all actors(Mikhalkov - bravo) and Yankovsky! For those who read this book, must be satisfied with the movie, because it's close enough to the book and XIX century Russia is also shown quite real. Dark side of the movie - Masa. It looks like it was some kind of amateur actor. Akunin's Masa is much more colorful and, how to say... interesting! Esfir Litvinova, Fandorin's chick, was (IMHO) too modern.
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.
Adaptation of Boris Akunin's famous novel about 19-th century Russian
sleuth Erast Petrovich Fandorin solving an assassination of a hot shot
general by a terrorist group called "BG". Directed by young Russian
film-maker Filip Yankovski with all-star cast in it.
Finally, after shallow "Azazel" and awful "Turkish Gambit" the audience can view a wonderful piece of film making with some stunning performances. Every single actor does a superb job and demonstrates excellent acting. Mature Erast Fandorin played by Oleg Menshikov is just like the one in the book - daring, unemotional and mysterious. He is quite a silent character in the film, musing most of the time, but the great acting skills of Menshikov are demonstrated in these very scenes. Green played by Konstantin Khabenskii is great as well - nervous, reckless but brave and charming. Nikita Mikhalkov is playing Pojarskii and I have to admit that he is playing his part real well. His character has the most lines. A very controversial character, at times comical and sometimes even devilish.
A few words about cinematography, screenplay and editing. Film has a lot of dark, white and red in it and such mixture of colors makes a picture very organic. Creation of 19-th century Moscow atmosphere was in my opinion achieved with great success: "troika" carriages on snowy streets, glamorous Russian castles and various beautiful costumes. Screenplay and editing are done so well that I didn't even notice how three hours passed. Dialogues are very well written and at the same time they so well spoken that it's a pleasure to listen to them and they don't tend to bore or tire. On the other hand a lot of action takes place and what is the most interesting - the end of the film differs from the same of the novel, so even those who have read the book and thus know the whole story, will still be surprised.
Befoure I watched the film I was a little disappointed by the reviews.
Because such a great cast I expected everyone to sing psalms of the
Fortunatly the critics in my opinion were mostly wrong. Although Fandorin is shockingly cold the first time we see him, he becomes believable as the film progresses. Mashkov who played Kozyr' is simply amazing. His whole over the top-act, the slang is just so fun to watch. Khabenski does well, and Fandera, who plays Igla is wonderful, very believable. Emiliya Spivak is somewhat irritating, but is what she should have been according to the book. Though of course it is Nikita Mikhalkov who steals the show. A lot can be said about his intrigues at the Russian Film Guild, but he is without a doubt a great actor fit for specific roles. He is at his best when he plays a "Barin", as in "Bespridannica".
The action is quick, brutal and not flashy, even the sound of gunfire seems somewhat muffled. There isn't an awful lot of action since it is a Crime movie, not an action film. For some reason they didn't really pay attention to Masa, because he was far too young, and not round enough (according to the book he was "short and round like a barrel"). Green's character was somewhat downsized in the film too, with little background, like the facts that he was Jewish and his whole routine, so I felt that was missed out, because while Igla's motivation is present Green's is none existent. However unless you have read the book you wouldn't notice such nuances, and even if you have not you would not dwell on them.
The cinematography is very good, the way light and shadows are used makes some shots worthy of being posters, or photos.
So overall I would say that this movie was excellent despite some very minor imperfections.
When I've read my first book about Fandorin, I thought "Only Menshikov
can play this". That is why since the moment I first heard that
Menshikov WILL play Fandorin I was waiting for "Statskiy Sovetnik" to
be released and was eager to watch it. And - finally! - my dream came
In the beginning I was a bit annoyed by the difference between the movie and the book, though I'm not the person who cares about such things. Then the movie captivated me and I became interested.
The actors' work was brilliant, I especially would like to mention Nikita Mikhalkov, whose portrayal of Pozharsky was absolutely flawless. Konstantin Khabenskiy and Oksana Fandera were very convincing too. The action was rather exciting - at least for me, because for some people long dialogues (or even monologues) can be quite boring. Not for me - I enjoyed every moment.
All in all, when I left the cinema, I was pleased with the movie. But some time later, recollecting the details, I found myself puzzled with the thought of Menshikov's performance. He looked good, he was an ideal Fandorin for me - at least his appearance was suitable - but I got an embarrassing feeling that I saw a ghost, a shadow of Erast Petrovich. It was lifeless, emotionless and insensible. What a disappointment! Fandorin is reserved and self-respecting, NOT nonchalant, haughty and bored of life.
In conclusion I can only say that this is my personal opinion and maybe I simply cannot see the main point of Menshikov's work... But I'm still upset with this Fandorin. I only hope that if there is another movie with Oleg Menshikov playing Erast Fandorin, THAT performance of this undoubtedly talented actor will be different - meaning more lively.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As in Hollywood "classic"films of 1930-40s,anywhere in the world
"blockbuster"films have common weakness--if not eclecticism of
style,then noises-seemingly needless scenes and characters in
dramaturgy."Statskiy sovetnik" isn't the exceptional case.
But here such flaws are less than any other Russian "blockbusters" in recent years.They are strategically included into the plot,so that they will look necessary elements of the drama(in fact,I think,not). Litovinova,an eccentric lady,strangely sympathetic to revolutionary movement,hating Ppojarskiy and falling in love with Fandorin,is utterly unnatural and inconsistent.But her character is charming in its way and her behavior partly helps the plot developing. The same can be said about the Japanese servant of Fandorin, Masa(again,utterly nonsense if consider the historical moment just before the 1905 revolution). But he also helps the plot developing, including Fandorin's affair with Litovinova and solving the case.
Weakness of style also can be pointed out.Director Philip Yankovsky so often uses dissolve, which make the temporal order of some scenes unclear at their beginning.
In spite of such flaws,"Statskiy sovetnik" is so far the best of Russian "blockbusters" made from 2003 to 2007. Its decent, even elegant look is undeniable. Dramatic elaboration of the "terrorisim" theme is excellent(it's one of the best element of this film),main actors' and operator's works are quite adequate. Some scenes are far above Hollywood analogue(especially,the scenes with tragic lovers:Green and Needle, and verbal duel of Fandorin and Pojarskiy).
As I believe that excellent genre films are far more precious for cinema as a whole than bad "arthouse"films, I rate this 8 of 10.
The plot of this film is the murder of the adjutant General Khrapov.
Someone posing as a state Councilor Fandorin is in the sleeping
carriages on the train and commits murder, then begins a long but very
exciting story. It is worth noting that this film is a screen
adaptation of the novel by Boris Akunin, and this is from the movie
some points have been removed, although very few of them.
What is so special about this film?
History. Here believe it or not, but having started to watch this movie, you will spend the next 2 hours completely forgetting about her case. Not for nothing is the filmmakers chose the slogan:
"The games are over. Now the real Fandorin in the present case"
The action takes place in the late 19th century, even on this young audience more clear. The "simple and clear" language of the narrative.
Acting. The cast of this film can be called a bouquet, if you want cream of the time.
Brilliant Menshikov fully felt in the role of Fandorin. Nikita Mikhalkov, who agreed to say "meow" in the movie and put a tear in a brilliant climax. Mashkov absolutely confidently played the role of Kozyr'. Of course, Khabenskiy, not afraid to take the hardest of the image of the Green and pass it at the highest level. Depressing that the image of the green revealed only in the uncut version.
In addition to these actors, the film scatter most known masters: Tabakov, Efremov, Spivak, Fandera, Bondarchuk, Gorbunov, Mironov and many others.
Larger scenes. Especially with pyrotechnics. The scene robberies chariot of the state Treasury, and the scene in Neskuchny garden will certainly remain in Your memory.
Music. Do not say, but the music, which was written by Enri Lolashvili beautiful rests on the history and has become a great component of this film. It's heavy, which transmits the gravity of the situation, but yet very beautiful.
The good news is that the film was a place for humor. It a bit, but he was very good.
In conclusion, I will say that for 10 years, this film is not in any doubt about the assessment.
10 out of 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Being a fan of the Fandorin novels, I had high hopes for this film,
especially with the casting of Oleg Menshikov as the "mature" Fandorin.
Like other viewers, I thought he looked the part, but also like others,
I felt he did not project Fandorin's humanity. My conception of
Fandorin is that he is not a snob, but rather respectful, often silent
and constantly analyzing each situation. I felt the love interest in
the film was gratuitous; the woman did not otherwise figure into the
plot and their scenes together were simply eye-candy (and not enough of
that, since we get to see "more" of her than we do of him).
The supporting cast was stellar---if I have ANY criticism, it's that Nikita Mikhalkov steals every scene he is in (and he is in most of them). I had the feeling that a lot of his dialog and stage direction was improvised. He certainly did make an wonderful villain at the end, though---I loved the scene where he shoots Julie in cold blood, then mutters "Prosti" (as if she could hear him or ever forgive him!) The art direction, cinematography, costume design, lighting and locale choice were all excellent. The story held my attention for two hours, and was only marred somewhat by a weak ending.
Here's hoping Menshikov will do more Fandorin films! This one was head and shoulders above the first two films about Fandorin, which utilized other actors in the title role. I would like to see Yankovsky or Mikhalkov re-shoot "Azazel" or film "The Death of Achilles", since both have superbly drawn villains(esses) and are my favorite books of the series.
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