Review: ‘On the Beautiful Blue Danube’

Reviewed at Bratislava Film Festival, Slovakia, Nov. 30, 1994. Running time: 123 MIN.

Reviewed at Bratislava Film Festival, Slovakia, Nov. 30, 1994. Running time: 123 MIN.

Ady … Vlado Hajdu

Juraj … Juraj Johanides

Maros … Maros Kramar

Like the John Lurie & the Lounge Lizards music that accompanies it, “On the Beautiful Blue Danube” is a new-jazz-type film with a trio of antiheroes who improvise their audacious lives. Despite veering off at times into bizarre riffs , director Stefan Semjan’s debut effort is ultimately an enjoyable, dark-toned comedy whose contemporary flavor and flair and congenial characters could help it find an appreciative specialized audience.

Juraj, unreformable Lothario Maros (the caustic ringleader) and Ady, the goofy butt of their jokes, join forces in a Byzantine plot that involves the theft of an Andy Warhol painting and three fakes used as decoys. The wait for their payment takes the three on a treasure hunt to track down the mysterious Russian Mafia figure behind the deal.

Pic moves at a briskly entertaining pace. In the first five minutes, even before the main titles, there’s a date rape, the art theft, a police chase and a car crash. Women and cars weave in and out of the boys’ adventures, with an endless supply of each always turning up when needed.

In their amoral, directionless lives, everything is fodder for the protagonists’ collegiate-style antics. Death is often close at hand but usually twists into another black joke. The film jars, however, well into the second half when Juraj’s abandoned wife and cute son are introduced.

Tech credits are pro.

On the Beautiful Blue Danube

(SLOVAK)

Production

A JMB Film & TV production. Produced by Mila Stranava. Directed by Stefan Semjan. Screenplay, Semjan, Martin Hecko.

Crew

Camera (color), Martin Strba; editor, Peter Kordac; music, John Lurie & the Lounge Lizards.
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