Elena - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Elena Reviews

Top Critic
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
October 16, 2012
Sturdy performances, fine photography from Mikhail Krichman, good use of music by Philip Glass and a pleasingly terse script make for incisive, gripping drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
August 10, 2012
In different hands, "Elena" might have been a noir thriller, but this serving of cinematic borscht is as cold as a Russian winter.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
July 19, 2012
"Elena" is a riveting psychological suspense film.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
July 13, 2012
A quiet, subtle mystery whose long, penetrating takes have drawn comparisons to Andrei Tarkovsky and whose mordantly ironic conclusion may remind you of Claude Chabrol.
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John Hartl
Seattle Times
July 12, 2012
Zvyaginstsev makes the most of the ghastly settings, which include a backyard that ominously features nuclear cones - and the kinds of compartmentalized living spaces that Hitchcock used for droll effect in "Rear Window."
| Original Score: 3/4
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
July 12, 2012
It's a sort of slow-boil Russian noir, if that genre exists, and if it doesn't, it does now.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
July 12, 2012
The script, by Oleg Negin and Zvyagintsev, uses spare dialogue to quietly devastating effect. Performances are superb across the board, framed in elegant widescreen compositions that simmer with violence.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
July 12, 2012
Andrei Zvyagintsev's film isn't stupid or crude, and we can pretty well imagine how all the characters feel, even though it doesn't make them sympathetic.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
June 22, 2012
A nicely noirish, cynically satisfying drama set in a gritty, urban Moscow that would otherwise not seem to be a haven for wildlife.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
June 8, 2012
Here's a tip: Don't feel. Think. Zvyagintsev wants you to come out of "Elena" thinking something, and if your realization is an uneasy one, that's OK with him.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
May 31, 2012
"Elena" reveals a filmmaker in full command of his art and not much interested in catering to an audience. If you want this film, you have to meet it more than halfway.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic
May 25, 2012
Naturalism lives. If Zola were a Russian in Russia today, he might have written Elena.
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Sheri Linden
Los Angeles Times
May 24, 2012
Performances are superb across the board, framed in elegant widescreen compositions that simmer with violence.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Richard Brody
New Yorker
May 21, 2012
[A] sluggish, portentous melodrama...
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V.A. Musetto
New York Post
May 18, 2012
'Elena" is a grim, somber portrait of life in Putin's Russia, where the haves and have-nots uneasily co-exist.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
May 17, 2012
The truly terrible question asked by this quiet, haunting and magnificent film is: Dear God, isn't there some better way to live?
Top Critic
May 17, 2012
Deeper down, the movie seethes quietly with the moody influence of other East European masters of the timeless ineffable.
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
May 17, 2012
Through Markina's torn allegiances, Zvyagintsev digs deep into matters of inheritance and how much we truly owe the people we love.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Stephen Holden
New York Times
May 15, 2012
Post-Soviet Russia in Andrei Zvyagintsev's somber, gripping film "Elena" is a moral vacuum where money rules, the haves are contemptuous of the have-nots, and class resentment simmers.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
May 15, 2012
Elena feels a touch repetitive right when it should be tightening the screws. But its fatalism is contagious.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Nick Pinkerton
Village Voice
May 15, 2012
The cautious, controlling, abstemious bourgeoisie are overtaken by the heedlessly fertile lower orders, the temporary inheritors of a terribly weary earth.