Friday, February 10, 2017

People Out There

Cilveki tur; crime drama, Latvia, 2012; D: Aik Karapetian, S: Ilya Scherbakov, Agnese Frisfelde, Semyon Serzin, Andris Gross, Viktoria Kondratenko

Yan is a lad in his 20s who cannot find a job and thus got involved with thugs and delinquents, among them with "Kreker" and "Shokolad", who wants to earn money by having a girl, Ilona, perform striptease on a porn website. Kreker and his younger brother often steal and beat up people, while Yan lives alone with his grandfather in an apartment. Yan is in love with Sabina, a girl from "high society", but her father, an evangelist who he robbed once, forbids him to contact her. When his grandfather tells him the truth, namely that he is not his grandson, but just a bastard child of a woman he once met and who ran away, Yan decides to join Kreker in a robbery of a party for rich teenagers. He meets Sabina there, but she rejects him. While running away, their car gets hit by another vehicle. Kreker dies, while a wounded Yna boards a train to the unknown.

A Latvian version of "Trainspotting", "People Out There" is a surprisingly strong and bitter film in the end, outgrowing its standard art-film repertoire and actually offering several suspenseful, genuine and engaging moments that grip the viewers. By following the empty lives of juvenile delinquents without any perspective in life, director and screenwriter Aik Karapetian managed to capture the mood of economic depression, and through it give a wider depiction of society, whereas this was helped by a great cast, especially the leading actor, Ilya Scherbakov: his one line sums up his whole situation when he speaks to his grandfather ("It seems the older I get, it gets more and more difficult to live"). The storyline suffers somewhat from its pace which features a few empty walks, grey mood or routine dialogues, yet it features at least three sequences that amounted to greatness — the grandfather's reveal of a secret to Yan; the 3-minute long camera drive of Kreker walking through the street and entering an apartment block to interrupt a web recording, all done in one single take; a car crash filmmed with an unusual perspective by having the camera placed inside the car, behind the driver's seat. The story "heats up" near the finale, and although it would have been better if it was climatic non-stop, it still manages to conjure up a quality picture of a lives of "underdogs".


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