In Moscow, Anton is out of ideas for his "Ghost" novels about a hit man, based on old news accounts. At a book signing, a man buys Anton's latest; then, on a street below, Anton sees the man murder a witness in an upcoming trial. Days later, the killer chats up Anton at a café, offering ideas for plots. Anton accepts and his writing improves. Meanwhile, he has a troubled relationship with Mika: she's forgiving, but his drinking and late-night writing sessions drive her away. Plus, he spends precious little time with his son, who's in an institution. Slowly, the hit man raises the ante with Anton: how far will a writer go to understand his fictional character? Written by
As I could not get a version of this film with subtitles, I am unable to comment on the script or the actor's reading of the lines. However, the action moved along well enough, the actors seemed to carry the necessary emotion just fine and frankly the cinematography was enough to keep me interested. I naturally missed a large portion of the dialog proceedings because I don't speak Russian and my friend who does doesn't speak it well enough to pick up the intricacies of the plot, but the beats of the action are broadly drawn enough that I could follow the film just fine despite the language problem. Possibly that means the film is not very imaginative and it may actually be hackneyed and boring with translation but viewed without that, I enjoyed it. And again, it's beautiful to look at. Every frame is about color and shape, is selected carefully, set up symmetrically or asymmetrically with great attention, all little works of art. The favored color scheme seems to be blue versus gold and it shows up in countless unusual ways. Hopefully, we'll get a comment on here from a Russian speaker who also speaks excellent English (no offense to the first reviewer but the translation leaves much to be desired) or we may get a version with subtitles but until then, it is very easy to look at. Oh yes: and Konstantin Khabensky does do drunk very, very well. No argument there.
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