That day Sergey Sobolev, police officer, is driving to the hospital where his wife is about to give birth to their child. High from happiness, he's driving too fast and when he sees a boy on a passage walk, it's too late. The boy died, and now the major has only two options: go to prison or conceal his crime and stay free. All the characters in this film have to choose - to cross or not to cross the line, when the price for your choice is life... yours and of the ones you love.Written by
Not the usual about police incompetence or corruption in Russia. Well meant actions to cover a colleague causing a fatal accident, gets out of control despite good intentions
I saw this film at the Leiden film festival 2013 (LIFF). It is not the usual story about the incompetent police force in Russia. Neither is corruption the issue here, also a popular topic in Russian films. Nevertheless, the local police does not leave a positive impression after this, and we cannot know whether this applies only to the city at hand. Anyway, intended as social commentary or not, the people working in the police force show their human nature, precisely that being the cause of all the intricacies we witness in this movie. They mean well, but they weave a tangled web, so to speak.
It starts simply with colleagues wanting to prevent a fellow police officer punished for something he is formally accountable for, namely fatally wounding a child while hastily driving to a maternity hospital after a phone call that his wife was about to give birth to a child. But, given his spotless past plus the obvious reasons for his speedy driving, those colleagues are prepared to bend the truth a little bit.
It could have worked. However, higher echelons insist on a water tight cover up, that can never reach a court. That includes "coercing" the mother of the killed child to agree on a false statement. In spite of everyone's good intentions, with each step it gets more and more out-of-control. There is no easy way out of the mess, getting more problematic by the hour.
All in all, in spite of the depressing view on the Russian police force we see in action, the self-inflicted complications make this into an interesting story. We witness the averse side effects of the well-intended cover-up, and the equally well-intended corrective actions making the situation worse and worse. I'd rather not deal with the police force and their superiors within city hall, such as the ones portrayed in this film. It is comforting that it is in a country far away, and we can safely watch the story explode in everyone's faces from our comfy chairs. The ability to see many other countries and different "political" rules of engagement, is a nice feature of a film festival. This film offered some good insights in that respect, and precisely that defines the positive things about this film. Most festival visitors seem to disagree, however, as this film ranked a lowly 37th place (out of 55) for the audience award.
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