An account of a Russian soldier trying to retrieve some stolen money, helmer Alexei Mizgiriov's turgid "The Convoy" reps a serious disappointment after "Buben Baraban."

An account of a Russian soldier trying to retrieve some stolen money, helmer Alexei Mizgiriov’s turgid “The Convoy” reps a serious disappointment after “Buben Baraban,” mainly because it overindulges in the same eccentricities — oblique storytelling, absurdism, deadpan perfs — that worked better in the prior effort. It doesn’t help that the English subtitles on the print caught at Berlin were so laughably bad as to render the pic all but incomprehensible for Russian non-speakers. “Convoy” won’t drive very far beyond fests.

Ignat (the inert-featured Oleg Vasilkov), a captain in the Russian army, is assigned to find two enlisted men who ran off with about 20,000 rubles (approximately $700) of the army’s money. Accompanied by a corrupt sergeant (Dmitri Kulichkov), they track down the first guy, (Evgeni Antropov) who kills himself; in Moscow’s suburbs, they find the second, Artyom (Azamat Nigmanov), a kid who’s a few shots short of the full vodka bottle. They proceed to get beat up a lot and talk in ultra-coarse “mat,” or Russian slang, which produces such priceless subtitle translations as, “Dunghole panic attack!” and the evocative “Now I am the dump bunny.” Tech credits are lousy.

The Convoy

Russia

Production

A Pavel Lungin Studio production with the support of the Russian Ministry of Culture. (International sales: Pavel Lungin Studio, Moscow.) Produced by Pavel Lungin. Directed, written by Alexei Mizgiriov.

Crew

Camera (color), Yanis Eglitis; editor, Natalia Kucherenko; music, Alexander Monotskov; art director, Cyril Shuvalov; costume designer, Tatiana Knyazheva. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 12, 2012. Running time: 83 MIN.

With

Oleg Vasilkov, Azamat Nigmanov, Dmitri Kulichkov, Ruslana Doronina, Ivan Akhadi, Evgeni Antropov.

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