Bullet Collector follows the traumas of a wide-eyed 14-year-old boy. Recalling the world of Antoine Doinel in FranÃ§ois Truffaut's The 400 Blows, this unsettling, visually brilliant drama ...
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Bullet Collector follows the traumas of a wide-eyed 14-year-old boy. Recalling the world of Antoine Doinel in FranÃ§ois Truffaut's The 400 Blows, this unsettling, visually brilliant drama updates that classic by giving it a nightmarishly Russian spin.Written by
Director Alexander Vartanov (Elena) sees the stray beauty in repugnant situations and manages to bring off a rare prison drama in the process. His young hero with a mop of blonde curls and a hurt, vacant look wouldn't be out of place in a Gus Vant Sant film. Through a series of events he is catapulted from his abusive home life into a juvenile prison cum Russian labour camp. The regime here is so brutal it makes One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich seem like a Sunday picnic. The only way to survive this is to be even more brutal than the guards and fellow young crims; a path our put-upon hero soon excels at. There are moments when Vartanov lets his obvious love for realising kinetic violence overtake sense and logic, but there is also some fine film making and acting on display. He has an eye for poetic detail amongst the ravages of camp life and he takes risks to put these details in. The artful use of black and white also puts it in a direct line from Russian cinema of the 1970's. For example, the combination of insane brutality and wide eyed youthful incomprehension is reminiscent of Tarkovsky classics such as Ivan's Childhood.
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