Alexei Balabanov's "Me Too" tracks a gaggle of roughneck pilgrims on a mission to a bell tower in the middle of a deathly, irradiated area that will supposedly transport them to a realm of eternal happiness.

A black-comedy-cum-parable that’s neither funny nor terribly illuminating, Alexei Balabanov’s “Me Too” tracks a gaggle of roughneck pilgrims on a mission to a bell tower in the middle of a deathly, irradiated area that will supposedly transport them to a realm of eternal happiness. A disappointment after the helmer’s critically well-received “Morphia,” “Me” has its moments, but it’s too slow in getting started to enchant auds beyond Russia, where Balabanov has a substantial, loyal following.

After a needlessly protracted scene in a sauna where a thief (non-pro Aleksandr Mosin) and a musician (punk rocker Oleg Garkusha) decide to embark on their adventure, a journey no one returns from, they set off in an SUV to collect the thief’s friend (Yuri Matveyev) and his father (Viktor Gorbunov). En route, they pick up a hapless prostitute (Alisa Shitkova), who upon arrival willingly strips naked and runs through the snow for the rest of the picture to reach the tower. The helmer himself appears as a mournful film director at the end. Allusions to Tarkovsky’s “Stalker” are obvious, but beyond that, the point’s not clear. The score by Leonid Fedorov is annoyingly repetitive.

Me Too

Russia

Production

A CTB Film Co. presentation with the support of the Russian Cinema Fund. (International sales: Intercinema, Moscow.) Produced by Sergey Selyanov. Directed, written by Alexei Balabanov.

Crew

Camera (color), Alexander Simonov; editor, Tatyana Kuzmicheva; music, Leonid Fedorov; production designer, Anastasia Karimulina; costume designer, Nadezhda Vassilieva; sound (Dolby Digital), Stanislav Miheev. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Horizons), Sept. 6, 2012. Running time: 82 MIN.

Cast

With: Yuri Matveyev, Aleksandr Mosin, Oleg Garkusha, Alisa Shitkova, Alexei Balabanov, Viktor Gorbunov, Petr Balabanov, Sergey Shologov, Alexei Balabanov.

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