Review: ‘Junk’

"Junk" more than lives up to its title. Feature debut for helmer Denis Neimand plays like a calling card left for Goth and heavy-metal acts hoping to make their pop-vid budgets stretch further by shooting in Russia. Pic opened well in Russia March 23, but dropped off the charts soon after.

Overblown action thriller “Junk” more than lives up to its title. Feature debut for helmer Denis Neimand, whose background includes video art and docus, plays like a calling card left for Goth and heavy-metal acts hoping to make their pop-vid budgets stretch further by shooting in Russia. Alyona Babenko (“A Driver for Vera”) plays a femme reporter lost in an exceedingly rough housing development. Pic opened well in Russia March 23, but dropped off the charts soon after.

Sulky Marina (Babenko) is assigned to interview a psychotic pedophile murderer (Mikhail Yefremov) at a mental hospital, but, before she can, he escapes into a suburban warren of summer houses due for demolition and currently occupied only by low-lifes. Cop Pavel (Vyacheslav Razbegaev) shows astonishing stupidity by taking Marina with him to look for the escapee, and soon gets killed by locals. Marina then runs around frantically in an increasingly tattered miniskirt. Ensemble hams it right up, while tech departments indulge in lurid montages, a hyperbolic soundtrack, and lensing that switches filters in mid-scene, as if d.p. Michael Muckasey had only just remembered he’s supposed to be shooting a night scene.

Junk

Russia

Production

A Central Partnership presentation of a MB Prods., Arnold & Gregor, Znaky Production Studio, Pride Professional Group, Technovision production. (International sales: Central Partnership, Moscow.) Produced by Joseph Bahshiev, Viktor Tacknov, Gennadiy Kravets. Directed by Denis Neimand. Screenplay, Konstantin Murzenko, Neimand.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Michael Muckasey; editor, Alexander Andryuschenko; music, Igor Vdovin; production designer, costumes, Vladimir Yuzhakov. Reviewed at Open Russian Film Festival (Cinema on the Square), Sochi, June 10, 2006. (Also in Cannes Film Festival -- market.) Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Alyona Babenko, Mikhail Yefremov, Alexei Serebriakov, Anatoly Beliy, Vyacheslav Razbegaev, Sergei Shakurov, Yusup Bakhshiev, Igor Lifanov, Gosha Kutsenko, Elena Rufanova, Igor Chernevich.
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