A trip to the countryside for a city family is revealed to have a dark and sinister ulterior motive.
Following the acclaim for The Return, Andrei Zvyagintsev falls prey to second picture syndrome. The story is gruellingly compelling, with Konstantin Lavronenko conspiring with brother Aleksandr Baluyev to abort the baby that wife Maria Bonnevie has informed him is not his. The twist is well executed and the acting’s exemplary (Lavronenko won Best Actor at Cannes), but it ladles on the heavy religious symbolism and overstuffs the references to the Old Masters and arthouse heavyweights like Bergman and Bresson. It feels more like a ciné dissertation designed to showcase Zvyagintsev’s appreciation of the medium than an original piece of cinema.
A fine effort but it It feels more like a ciné dissertation than an original piece of cinema.