Rambunctious Czech comic drama “Lovers and Murderers” takes a ramshackle look back at provincial life of Czechoslovakia in 1966, when housing was scarce and TV tedious. But, as the title suggests, people found other ways to entertain themselves. Crammed with subplots and sketchily drawn characters, pic plays like its reaching too far to be faithful to the novel by Vladimir Paral. Slapdash production values and perfunctory direction by first-timer Viktor Polesny suggest an overstretched budget. Regional fans of the original book may give the pic local love, but getting distribution overseas will be murder.
Peripatetic story follows workers at a chemical factory who live in a crumbling subdivided villa. Characters include mousy manager Graf (Jan Vlasak), whose wife, Zita (Zlata Adamovska), begins an affair with much younger Borek (Jiri Langmajer). Zita’s son Roman (Jakub Prachar) has a fling with sexpot Madda (Kristina Kloubkova), who has an incestuous relationship with one of her brothers (Marko Igonda), while her other sibling (Ondrej Vetchy) becomes the victim of Roman’s wrath after Madda ditches him. Polesny handles comedy better than tragedy; this means death and gang rape feel flippantly handled. Tech package is weak.