August 1991, military coup d'etat in Moscow. When Soviet tanks are on the streets of Tallinn, Estonia, all hopes for independence seem to be lost. People in the only local television station, ETV, are facing their own choices.
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"Punane Elavhõbe" (red mercury in English) was announced as an Estonian historic crime movie about Estonian mafia, non-existing laws and underground brutality in the 90's.
The main characters were three thugs who weren't special at all, mainly only stealing car stereos etc. They heard that they could get rich when they would buy red mercury in Russia and then sell it with a higher price. So they took their way to Russia and one of them, Korba, would "shut down" anyone who got in their way (even if they were not an actual threat) like taxi drivers.Estonian police was watching them and later they all got caught in Estonia. They also learned that Russians had bluffed and red mercury didn't actually exist.
So what was positive? Storyline was mostly OK. The problem was a poor presentation. Most objects came from the early 90's so the atmosphere was pretty good in terms of timing although some mistakes were made. And Kristjan Sarv definitely did the best acting in this movie when playing a brutal thug who didn't care about human lives.
What was negative? First of all I expected real mafia being in the center movie. But the key characters were nothing but a bunch of stupid thugs who wanted to get rich as easily as possible.. Secondly the cops were weak. Specially the commander, Buldooser, played by Peeter Oja. He was supposed to be a harsh guy but his yelling made him look not so tough at all, rather just a bad communicator. Also police work and investigating wasn't believable at all. Thirdly the Estonian and Russian languages mix up got so annoying. If one talked in Estonian then he received answer in Russian and vice versa. At the beginning the solution seemed good, but it really started to freak out in the end.
Actually there was more negative in the film, but it would take a whole day to write this down. It was a huge disappointment. Definitely worth skipping. My conclusion is that it should have shown more Estonian life back then and how the Estonian mafia was organized. But majority was filmed in Russia so it didn't meet expectations at all.
3 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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