Review: Blockbuster

3 years ago
Suzan Calimli

Blockbuster features two young women who bond while escaping danger. Liza Nifontova (Svetlana Ustinova), discontented TV presenter, is taken hostage by Natasha Tulpanova (Anna Chipovskaya), wannabe model, after a bank robbery gone wrong. The events take place after Liza has a bad work day and finds her boyfriend cheating on her. Naturally, as one would, she takes to alcohol and a late-night kebab fix. Treat yo self girl. After discovering the fugitive in her car, Liza is forced to help Natasha escape into hiding.

And so their adventure begins. Liza, although initially frightened, takes an odd liking to the girl—mostly because she feels sorry for her—and they develop a bizarre friendship.

It’s basically Thelma and Louise with a Russian twist and a happy ending.

My favourite part of watching a new film is capturing the flow of it. There’s different elements—humour, meaning, thriller—that come together to give this story a colourful arc and the characters depth. My only disappointment was that the end was a bit of an anti-climax. Picture a right skewed bell-shape curve (yeah, I’m taking you back to Year 12 Further Mathematics) with a small bump. The lead-up is long and somewhat suspenseful, but the leap doesn’t go as high.

Directed and written by Roman Volobuev, most of the film is cast in dark hues and shadows, and that works perfectly with the film’s satirical take on dark humour and mild thriller vibes. The colour palette fits the story and reflects certain motifs in the film; the second, untold story underneath the layers of crime and adventure: people coping with their own demons and crappy people. When we first meet Liza, her life in painted in dull, cool and monotone colours. She is miserable and lonely. Subtle changes are introduced after her encounter with Natasha. We see darker and warmer colours, rich in tones. Natasha is random, headstrong and foolish, but her self-assurance goes a long way to teach Liza much-needed confidence. Blockbuster features women supporting for each other against men, adding to elements of feminism. This is captured perfectly in a scene where Natasha calls out Liza’s colleague’s hypocrisy on national television who was inclined to slut-shaming women who slept with ‘successful’ men but had no problem dating those women himself. Kudos to the stand.

Most of the shots range from close-up, low-angled to establishing shots. Medium-to close up worked well to capture the character’s behaviours and expressions. This works well telling the second layer of the story. The acting of the cast comes a long way in making this apparent. Personalities of the characters are captured well; but I’m most impressed with Svetlana Ustinova and Anna Chipovskaya’s acting. Their emotions were not forced and they both captured a candidness that resonated well with their characters.

Blockbuster is refreshingly different and unmethodical, with compelling characters and polished cinematography.

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