In this neo-film noir, Moscow-style, a jaded businessman investigates the murder of his childhood best friend. A potentially intriguing journey into the underbelly of contemporary Russia is marred by plot obscurities and the director's insistence on depicting flashbacks as if they were the contradictory hallucinations of an addict.

In this neo-film noir, Moscow-style, a jaded businessman investigates the murder of his childhood best friend. A potentially intriguing journey into the underbelly of contemporary Russia is marred by plot obscurities and the director’s insistence on depicting flashbacks as if they were the contradictory hallucinations of an addict. For a while the film looks impressive, with its boldly disconnected imagery and alternate presentations of the same event; but the viewer quickly tires of the visual fireworks and yearns for the intriguing story to be told more coherently. Modest international exposure can be expected.

Pulled in for questioning by the police about the murder of his old buddy Vadim, the balding Max (Sergei Shakurov) sets out to solve the mystery himself. The trail leads to various beautiful and not always trustworthy women, to a gangster able to shed light on the murdered man’s activities and to the murdered man’s diary. Director Meskhiyev revels in the decadence of contemporary Russia, depicting an uncomfortable looking three-way sex scene (with the participants apparently inside a plastic bag) among other moments of titillation. Film ends on a fashionably downbeat note, with nothing really solved.

Diary of a Kamikaze

Market / Russia

Production

A Slovo Prods., Non-Stop Prods., Art Pictures Group production, with support from the Ministry of Culture, Russia. (International sales: Slovo Prods., Moscow.) Produced by Sergei Melkumov, Yelena Yatsura, Victor Glukhov. Directed by Dimitri Meskhiyev. Screenplay, Edouard Volodarsky.

Crew

Camera (color), Sergei Machisky; editor, Tamara Liparta; music, Slava Kourashov; production designer, Vladimir Svetozarov. Reviewed on videocassette, Leura, Australia, June 7, 2002. (In Cannes Film Festival -- market.) Running time: 105 MIN.

With

Sergei Shakurov, Nikolai Chindyaykin, Natalia Kolyakanova, Yevgenia Dobrovolskaya, Victoria Tolstoganova, Irina Rozanova, Sergei Garmash.
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