is about a group of four petty flatheads who steal Western cars, including
the ill-fated BMW, and thanks to the goofy-tough-guy antics of the weakest
of the group, they wind up in a razborka with the wrong gangsters. In a
restaurant showdown, our heroes cross the line and blast the gangstery,
starting a war that they have no chance of winning. So they flee on an Odyssey-like
journey through the cruel and poor provinces of Russia.
Pyotr Buslov's violent, atmospheric tale of four friends in a stolen car
("bimmer" is Russian slang for a BMW) was hugely popular in its
domestic run. The pennyless-crooks-on-the-road movie has long been a popular
choice for American low-budget debut outings, but here the wandering aimlessness
of the action -- with its savvy pacing and convincing portrayal -- is mirrored
by a generalized disbelief at every turn.
When car thief
Dimon (Andrei Merzlikin) has his stolen wheels car-jacked by a rival bunch
of thieves, he summons his three buddies to even the score. But things turn
ugly, a government agent is killed, and the quartet must flee into the hinterlands.
are fairly standard-issue, their intelligence and likeableness in direct
proportion to their looks. Killa, the least lovely, tends to shoot before
he thinks; Dimon's petulant narcissism comes off as quasi-nerdy; tall, blond
Rama relates well to women, who enthusiastically return the favor. Only
brainy charismatic leader Kot has an honest-to-goodness girlfriend.
the group lacks in complexity or originality it makes up for in loyalty
and mutual support, director Buslov gets a lot of mileage out of the relaxed
ensemble acting of the mostly unknown cast and the authenticity of their
urban idiom-sprinkled dialogue.
Once out of
the city the foursome finds themselves in unknown waters. Run-ins with local
gangs and corrupted cops, they usually manage to squeak by through bluff,
threats or pure dumb luck. An attempt to extort protection money from truckers
in a roadside eatery seems doomed to failure, until some homegrown goons
show up, providentially proving protection is needed.
anticipate car chases at every turn for a movie entitle as such but unfortunately,
none was presented. The biggest action sequence is triggered not by cops
or robbers but by the ungrateful truckers, who refuse to pay the agreed-upon
extortion price, encircling and attacking their erstwhile protectors, seriously
stabbing Dimon while the others barely escape with their lives.
with a healer in a small village, broke and with nowhere to go, they pull
a small final heist which rapidly disintegrates into a killing field.
sidetracks the straight-ahead trajectory of his road movie in order to take
off after tangential characters who briefly take center-stage. At first
merely indicative of widespread hopelessness and anomie, these scenes increasingly
read as some creepy form of divine payback, raising the specter of the kind
of aggressive, hate-driven energy.
Code 3 flick unfortunately doesn’t come with any extras.
with a Russian Dolby Digital 2.0, there’s nothing to brag about. It's
in Russian by the way, but English subtitles is an option.
of bleak hopelessness and distance was particularly evident throughout the
movie. Alienation and danger seem to leak every corner of the movie, almost
making Russia a place not to go.
Review by Lokman B S