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(Review originally written at 29 November 2006)

This is a Russian drama made in the same minimalistic style as some of the best Scandinavian dramas.

It's a slow moving movie with a realistic approach of both the story and characters. It makes the movie and its emotions and characters all feel real. With an approach like this and the right director at the helm, you don't really need much else to make a great movie. Andrei Zvyagintsev seems like a great talent and I look forward to seeing more movies by him.

The story and the premise is actually quite simple but the execution of it gives the story some deeper emotional- and also realistic layers and makes the story come across way more interesting and intriguing than it is on paper.

The movie is also definitely helped by its natural performances from the actors. Especially the two kids in the movie Vladimir Garin and Ivan Dobronravov are great and are the core of the movie. Everything involves around them and they carry their roles with great responsibilities in a real great way and with devotion to the characters.

The movie is not only well directed and acted out, it also is beautiful looking. It shows that Russia also has some beautiful looking landscapes and nature. The movie is real eye candy to look at at times and almost looks like a painting.

It's definitely true that the movie is not always interesting and the movie does has its slower moments. Some of the sequences last too long and don't add enough to the story but for a movie like this that is always sort of unavoidable. Guess you have to be a sort of genre fan to fully appreciate this movie but basically everybody should be able to appreciate the beauty and overall greatness of this 'simple little' movie.

Let's hope more movies like this one from Russia will be made and given a global release.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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