Boardwalk Empire had an excellent episode, but disappointed us for the first
time on the nudity front. There
was only one fleeting background tit.
Eastbound and Down featured some
random topless Kenny Powers
fans and a mighty plump senorita named
Lisa De Razzo
Krai is a new (2010) Russian movie with aspirations to epic status.
The setting is the remotest section of Siberia in 1945, just after the end of
World War II. There are a few dozen people living together in a labor camp on
the edge of nowhere. The central government has more important things to deal
with that to get around to this tiny encampment. There is an officer in charge,
but he has a weak will, lost one arm in the war, doesn't have a weapon, and just
doesn't give a shit. People obey him when they feel like it, and the situation
is not far from anarchy. Into the camp comes Ignat, a battle-hardened young
sergeant who specializes in the maintenance of locomotives. He had experienced
some psychological damage when we was fighting at the front, but he does
understand and love trains - loves fixin' 'em, loves drivin' em, you name it.
The officer tells Ignat that he's now number two in command, but Ignat is not
impressed with the dumpy camp at all, and is the tougher of the two guys, so he
says he'll just keep moving on. The officer responds that Ignat has to stay, not
because it's an order, but because there's nowhere else to go. To go back is to
face court martial and/or hard work, and there's no going forward because the
railroad tracks end a few miles down the line.
In spite of those facts, Ignat soon finds someplace to go. The railroad line
ends at a large body of water, but it did not always stop there. Beyond that is
a partially damaged bridge which used to lead to an enormous island. It seems
that the island was once used as a joint German/Russian logging camp which was
supposed to be a model of international co-operation when Stalin and Hitler were
still buddies. The railroad bridge had been used to bring the wood from the
island back to the mainland. When Germany broke the non-aggression pact, all
hell broke loose, things got ugly, the bridge got damaged, and a locomotive got
abandoned on the island. When Ignat finds out about the island's history, he has
come close to his personal heaven. Given the lack of authority in this outback
location, if he can get to the island, repair the train, and patch up the
bridge, he can actually have his own personal locomotive. And he does love him
some trains! Of course, even if he can make it to the island, people believe
that some armed Germans are still living there.
The rest of the plot is for you to discover.
This is one of the best damned movies I've seen in years. It is dazzlingly
original in concept and execution, the cinematography is both spectacular and
inventive, and the film is just ... big. The themes are big, the locations are
spectacularly rugged, the action scenes are epic in scope, and the ideas are
important. It has a little bit of everything. There's a crazy Russian man and a
young German girl working together to build a makeshift bridge over some raging
water, and then driving a locomotive at top speed hoping to reach the undamaged
portion of the bridge before their jury-rigged trestle can collapse. There are
two dramatic locomotive races, one in good weather and one in the snow. There's
a locomotive test of strength with two of the giant engines pushing
face-to-face. There's a gigantic "immortal" bear who seems to be everywhere.
There's humor, inspiration, and a satisfying ending. There are fascinating
characters, all of them unique, colorful, and slightly damaged - sometimes more
than "slightly." Hell, there's even a naked catfight between two women who are
surrounded by several other completely naked women.
It goes without saying that not all of you will be interested in a Russian
language movie about a remote and barely civilized camp in Siberia in 1945, but
if the idea of watching something like that doesn't turn you off, I think you'll
be very impressed by this film.
The nudity is terrific, but I have to mitigate that with an admonition that the
characters are all normal-looking women rather than women who look like
actresses. They are supposed to have lived hard lives with inadequate nutrition
and exercise, and they do look the part. Despite that, I found the nudity quite
pleasant, and Julia Peresild has a helluva rack on 'er.