Review: ‘The Man of No Return’

There are a million stories in the naked city, and novice helmer Katya Grokhovskaya decides to tackle all of them in "The Man of No Return." Chock full of tired stereotypes and often unintentionally funny, drama of an unhappy family and assorted locals careens all over the map, displaying the antithesis of the Lubitsch touch in its need to spell out every hackneyed plot turn and emotion.

There are a million stories in the naked city, and novice helmer Katya Grokhovskaya decides to tackle all of them in “The Man of No Return.” Chock full of tired stereotypes and often unintentionally funny, drama of an unhappy family and assorted locals careens all over the map, displaying the antithesis of the Lubitsch touch in its need to spell out every hackneyed plot turn and emotion. Home play may drum up some business, but offshore returns will be zilch.

The only members of the Knyazev family happy together are hard-ass army dad Boris (Mikhail Remizov) and wife Tatyana (Yelena Valyushkina), but she has lung cancer and won’t be around long. Studly son Andrei (Sergei Krapiva) earns extra money as a gigolo to menopausal Alevtina (Galina Jovovich), while his two sisters are in dead-end relationships despite outward signs of success. Meanwhile, pretty, handicapped Olesya (Anna Khilkevich) — presented as a pathetic creature — will find love only when gay-for-pay Roman (Vitaly Gogunsky) similarly winds up wheelchair-bound after a fag-bashing. All this and hand-held lensing, too. Grokhovskaya needs to learn to tell one story before attempting Peyton Place.

The Man of No Return

Russia

Production

ZG Film, Cineline Studio present a ZG Film production. Produced by Dmitriy Rubin, Igor Zadorin. Directed, edited by Katya Grokhovskaya. Screenplay, Peter Stepin.

Crew

Camera (color), Aleksei Andrianov; music, Evgueni Galperine; production designer, Antonina Mavrina; costume designer, Mariya Rtishcheva. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (competing), Jan. 28, 2007. Original title: Chelovek bezvozvratny. Running time: 103 MIN.

With

Galina Jovovich, Yekaterina Rednikova, Sergei Krapiva, Yelena Valyushkina, Anna Churina, Mikhail Remizov, Olga Zaitseva, Vitaly Gogunsky, Anna Khilkevich, Alyona Yakovleva, Sergei Chonishvili, Andrei Yegorov, Nina Menshikova, Aleksei Korolyov, Flerov Eduard, Irina Averina, Alisa Vilena Gerstein.
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