The Painter and the Thief
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Reminded me the good old "stalker" .
Great movie, very balanced.
A shiny debut of a master Andrey Zvyagintsev. The film is in many ways an homage to Tarkovsky's cinematography, although already taking its own course.
Vladimir Garin drowned shortly after filming and two months before the film's debut.
Riveting story with abundant
It has the stunning, bleak and oppressive beauty found in Andrei Tarkovsky's films, with a cold and blueish cinematography that offers no relief from the underlying tension that is basically omnipresent, and it benefits especially from three excellent central performances.
After thinking over this puzzling story for some time, I recalled the opening scene in which Ivan was unable to jump from the tower into the water as all the other boys had done. When he doesn't come home his mother climbs the tower and comforts him. He says, Oh, Mommy, I was so scared." She comforts him and promises that she will never tell anyone that he didn't jump. It will be their secret. This is the key to the movie. The father is the interloper. Ivan never accepts him, although his older brother, Andrei, becomes close to his father. Ivan is deeply attached to his mother. That is the point of the opening scene. It is detached from the story line and otherwise is merely a distraction that serves no purpose. This movie is a beautiful work of art, with excellent photography and acting, and a story that pulls the viewer into the growing tension and mystery. But the point is to tell the sad story of male versus female, dad versus mom. These two necessary parents have conflicting missions in life in the raising of their children. This dad is a tough, demanding but kind and loving dad. But his very existence was too much for his son Ivan. How sad, and how true. Life is sad and difficult. This film tells that sad story beautifully.
Good movie, great cinematography, certainly deep enough.... Still, I never felt involved with it. I just watched from outside, and when this is happening I get bored.
The much over-used "gritty" springs to mind. Exceptional film making, beauty in despair.
A suspenseful thriller? It's more of a story of failed parenting.
Andrey Zvyagintsev's very first feature shows him to already be a master of film craft, something which has since been reinforced by 2014's Leviathan and this year's Loveless (which I am still looking forward to watching). Although I am not sure the Tarkovsky comparisons are fully warranted (except that he is Russian and shoots a great landscape), there is no denying that Zvyagintsev does know how to create suspense and tension through a well-executed script and careful attention to character development. Here, two young brothers, aged 12 and 14 (perhaps), are shocked by the sudden return of their long absent father, whom the younger son can't recall at all. The father immediately takes them on an overnight fishing trip during which he acts increasingly menacing and harsh; soon the overnight trip extends to become a longer journey, full of rain and hardships. A terrible sea voyage in a rowboat features prominently, ending on a secluded, perhaps deserted, island where the boys must confront their hostile father. Thinking back to Tarkovsky, he was famous for including the four elements in his films, sometimes all in the same shot (see Stalker or The Mirror, for examples); perhaps Zvyagintsev may have also tried this here (there is a tremendous amount of wind and rain plus campfires and at least one ditch being dug). Other reviewers suggest that The Return contains metaphysical and mythological themes or Freudian ones (in which the sons must overcome the father to, if not to obtain the mother, at least to become men); I didn't pick this up but it would also suggest a Tarkovsky influence. What I did see was a tremendously acted film, especially by Ivan Dobronravov (the stubborn younger son), and one that was almost unbearable in its sense of foreboding threat. As a father of two sons, I may have observed the boys' relationship more carefully (and felt more tense as a result!). A sinister nail-biter, if you are in the mood, and a beautiful looking one to boot.