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