The drab, depressing scenery of post-Soviet St. Petersburg serves as the fitting backdrop to this Russian crime drama. The late Sergei Bodrov Jr. excellently potrays Danila, a morally conscious criminal with an understated calmness about him who is thrown into the violent criminal world at the hands of his older brother. The film was shot on a low-budget, but has a script that has some extremely understated clever quips (even when translated to English) akin to the writing of Tarantino, backed up by top-notch actors and containing a very relevant message to youth: No matter how bad your surroundings are, there is always hope.
Pretty Village, Pretty Flame is a wonderfully written war movie which takes a backseat in history and focuses entirely on the men involved. Blanketed with an ironic dark humor (often in the most morbidly inappropriate and unexpected places) and told out of sequence, the film is littered with a heavy usage of flashbacks and metaphors, and is a very intelligent and very beautiful film if one pays attention to it. Even though it suffers slightly from its occasionally out of place humor and lack of information regarding the conflict (meaning many foreigners without much knowledge of the events in 1992 will find themselves missing much of the context), it is a very powerful anti-war film and is definitely worth watching.
An occasionally overly dark film which, while beautiful and stylish, has a bare-bones story and hardly any narrative at all. Also seems too dark for kids but too silly for adults, making it a sort of awkward watch for everyone. Never the less, one cannot deny it does have a lot of charm and mystery to it.