Review: ‘Poisoned by Polonium: The Litvinenko File’

Silvio Berlusconi

Film reps a ponderous, self-indulgent cri de coeur from its helmer.

Andrey Nekrasov’s docu “Poisoned by Polonium: The Litvinenko File” reps a ponderous, self-indulgent cri de coeur from the helmer, a friend of the former Russian security service agent Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned last November in London. Pic adds nothing new to public knowledge about the case, and Nekrasov makes it as much about himself as about Litvinenko and the tense political situation in Russia today. Unlikely to be screened openly where President Putin rules, pic might find takers in former Soviet bloc countries. Docu helmer Jos de Putter’s “In Memoriam Alexander Litvinenko” covers similar material in half the time, offering better context.

Alternating footage of Litvinenko and other interviewees with film and broadcast clips and personal digressions, Nekrasov confusingly explores a series of charges against the Russian president, including unsolved murders of opposition figures and journalists and money laundering. A short interview with Andrey Lugovoi, recently named by Britain as the Litvinenko murder suspect, provides a light moment when Lugovoi offers the helmer a cup of tea that he firmly refuses.

Pic was reviewed at Cannes under the title “Rebellion: The Litvinenko Case.”

Poisoned by Polonium: The Litvinenko File



A Kino Intl. (in U.S.) release of a Dreamscanner Prods. presentation. (International sales: Rezo, Paris.) Produced by Olga Konskaya. Directed by Andrey Nekrasov. Written by Nekraskov, Olga Konskaya.


Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Martin Winterbauer, Sergei Tsikhanovich, Monika Preischl, Dmitriy Ogay, Colin Rogal, Cedric Fontan; editors, Nekrasov, Konskaya. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Special Screenings), May 26, 2007. Russian, English, French, German dialogue. //Running time: 113 MIN.


Andrey Nekrasov, Alexander Litvinenko, Marina Litvinenko, Walter Litvinenko, Anna Politkovskaya, Mikhail Trepashkin, Natalya Lazareva, Alexander Gusak, Andrey Ponkin, Andre Glucksmann, Jurgen Roth, Bill Bowring, Ivan Demushkin, Andrey Lugovoi.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety