An impacting insight into Russia that benefits from access and a tight focus
A fascinating and damning film this one. It never comes out and says that it is about Putin's government's control of the media but by opening with a quote from him on the subject it is very clear what we are talking about. The film investigates the control of the media by focusing on one city in particular where the local paper is very outspoken and has just had its second editor murdered. The film follows the journalists on the paper and talks to them about their experiences but the main part of the film follows a human rights lawyer trying to get to the bottom of the murder of the second editor and expose failings in the conviction of the man accused of the crime.
In doing this the film allows the viewer to see for themselves what it is all like and it is impacting in how it does this. It doesn't rant at the viewer or make wild accusations about those at the top but it simply shows a systematic indifference to the murders, a seeming lack of urgency and a lack of respect for due process. I was there myself recently for the first time and I got the impression of a country where control was everywhere and all roads led back to Government I required letters to say where I had been during my stay and every single piece of paper had to have an official stamp. Very bureaucratic and very "big government" to borrow a phrase. So to see this film in that context it is chilling because it is easy to muse on the idea that, while acts of murder are not carried out by officials, the power has to come from somewhere to make things go away so effectively.
It is not a spoiler to say that the end credits reveal that shortly after this film one of the journalists featured in the film from the paper was also murdered and the weight of that fact only serves to make this a harder film to watch without makes 4 out of the 2 and 2 that the film lets us see. Woodhead provides a solid narration to avoid accusations of beefing it up or talking it up to be worse than it seems and the task is left to the brave makers, who capture and pull together a tightly focused but compelling case.
As with much we see in the media about Russian (not least of which the murder of Litvinenko in November 2006) there is no one smoking gun that makes you stand up aghast at the power and will of Russia, but the film puts sufficient evidence in front of you to leave the viewer with no definite answers but certainly clear view that something is very wrong within this country and even if those in charge are not doing it themselves, they are not stopping it either.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?