Kontroll (2003)

16 Mar

Stars: ***Half

Dir. Nimrod Antal

Bulcsü is a man with a troubled past. He has demons that he is running away from, perpetually hiding out from in the underground Metro system of Budapest. Surrounded by a crew of societies outcasts this sullen, agoraphobic hero has found a home away from home. All is going well for him, meeting the girl of his dreams (who wears a bear outfit) and having a good reputation among his comrades when something upsets the equilibrium of this underground refuge; a hooded man (appearing to be the grim reaper) pushing passengers in front of trains making each incident appear to be suicidal. Bulcsü is rattled by this destruction and finally finds himself framed for being the perpetrator himself.

I liked many aspects of this film, from the retro-futuristic decor of an Eastern European underground train system (reminding me fondly of my short time in Prague) to the archetypal characters and motifs that were a constant in the film.

At times it unnecessarily dragged when exhibiting a fine portrait of the underground workers of the Metro system, Bulcsü’s occupation as a ticket inspector. However, these glimpses are very entertaining in small doses and acted as a device to break up the main hero journey and narrative, providing pit stops for the audience.

This film is a cross between a sleuth noir/romance/screwball comedy (as many popular European films seem to be)/hero journey/self-empowering/comedy – and not necessarily in that order.

Loved the concept and enjoyed the film thoroughly, thanks Eszter for the recommendation!

 

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