Based on Pushkin's short story: When his friends play faro, German always enjoys watching, but he never gambles himself. One day, as he is watching their game, he learns that an elderly ... See full summary »
Meeting in a strange forest, a disparate couple comes to a sacred spot in the forest looking to end their lives in a location chosen for the same feat only for their troubles to start once she takes matters into her own hands and forces far more pain and suffering on him than he expected.
For the most part, this was an exceptionally engaging and enjoyable effort. One of the film's better qualities is the fact that there's a rather profound and chilling nature of the material present throughout here. Being filmed in black-and-white gives this a far more evocative and poignant feel to coincide with the subject matter, for this one is so deeply rooted in Catholic guilt that the two are blended together in absolutely stellar quantities where they grow closer together due to his past moves this along nicely. From the guilt he experiences over failing his family and not preventing his daughters' death to the general callousness regarded for life is allowed to come together in the way they show this being filmed as there's very few wasted shots or potential throughout here with everything intertwined throughout here. The woods are haunting and disturbing, the desolate nature is truly felt and the entire segment has a realistic tone that is quite engaging as it's a brief section of the film that doesn't feel anywhere near as long as it does which makes it stand out extremely well. While nowhere near as potent, the film's second half is a strikingly fun and enjoyable stalker effort with the grieving family completely unaware of the actions that have taken place in the forest. This stellar home-invasion effort features some absolutely fun moments, from the initial scenes featuring them being followed home that is quite creepy, her early prowling around the house which gives this a rather eerie feel to the actual attack on the family members themselves that hold this section together, there are some rather interesting and enjoyable ideas throughout here. This is perhaps the kind of strangely art- house take on the setup which is unique and gives this a different enough take on the style by itself which gives this the kind of appeal anyway.While these here work for the film, it does have a rather problematic feature about it. The film's main problem is that there's quite a differing tone present throughout here that doesn't really do this much favors. Going from the first half which is a solid and introspective take on the nature of suicidal guilt and what's going through a person's mind, this naturalistic take vanishes in the second half which just screams to belong in a different movie. It's all way too scattershot and varied in what's going on and doesn't make any sense what's going on which is a far cry from what happened previously, never offers up anything about what's going on and just makes for a baffling series of actions that don't connect at all to what happened since the entire sequence feels so different from what came previously. It's the main topic holding this one down.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language, Violence and intense themes of suicide.
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