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Citizen X

Stephen Rea , Donald Sutherland , Chris Gerolmo    R (Restricted)   VHS Tape
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking, absolutely shocking June 12 2004
Format:DVD
Ted Bundy. Jeffrey Dahmer. Andrei Chikatilo. Andrei Chikatilo? While the first two names are instantly recognizable, that last one raises shoulders. He belongs with the likes of Bundy, however, because Andrei Chikatilo was one of the most fearsome serial killers the modern world has ever seen. His murderous rampages took place in the former Soviet Union during the 1970s and 1980s, during a time when the hammer and sickle flew proudly over the Kremlin, Russian troops invaded Afghanistan, and Jimmy Carter boycotted the Olympics. He preyed on children riding trains, killing over fifty of them before the authorities finally brought him to justice. Chikatilo's trial, which took place after the fall of communism, saw the monster secured in a large cage in the courtroom as the parents of the victims wept, fainted, and hurled invectives at the seemingly mild mannered man. They had a good reason to be angry. For years, Chikatilo killed with impunity within a system that termed serial killers a "decadent western phenomenon," a system that continually ignored, mismanaged, and outright lied about the horrors unfolding in the forests around Rostov, the city where Chikatilo lived and practiced his abhorrent activities. Fortunately, the court found Andrei Chikatilo guilty of mass murder and imposed a sentence of capital punishment. Thanks to Russian prison authorities, Chikatilo has since exited this mortal coil.
"Citizen X" is more than the story of Andrei Chikatilo, a marvelously acted, written, and directed tale that succeeds because it goes beyond the story of a killer to tell a truth about communism and the former Soviet Union. The story begins when a local cop brings in a body to the office of the new forensic pathologist in Rostov, Viktor Burakov (Stephen Rea).
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Format:DVD
From Robert Cullen's true crime novel, "The Killer Department" comes HBO Studio's "Citizen X". Originally cablecast on HBO February 25, 1995, Donald Sutherland won the Golden Globe for Supporting Role Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Made for TV in 1996 and also the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Special in 1995.
Based on the true story of the eight year long manhunt in communist Soviet Union (1982 - 1990) for one of the most savage and elusive serial killers on record - Andrei Chikatilo (a chilling Jeffrey DeMunn).
The story starts out with newbie forensic pathologist, Viktor Burakov (a great Stephen Rea), and his first cadaver that comes into the morgue. A quick nightime search of the wooded area where the body was found is completed with eight MORE bodies found in varying degrees of decomposition and desication. All are children, boys and girls alike and have been murdered, raped and mutilated in some very odd ways.
Viktor, somehow, is put in charge of the WHOLE blessed case by Colonel Mikhail Fetisov (Donald Sutherland). With Viktor now being forensic expert, detective, and case cracker extraordinaire, he is more than a little wary of his own capabilites and feels like the only man who cares about these horrific murders that are taking place.
The investigation continues on for many years with many murders being committed over time because the case is being buried under the communist parties' government red tape and "poo pooing" by the Colonel's superior and sinister leader, Bondarchuk (Joss Ackland).
Thankfully and finally the cold war hits and Viktor is given permission to bring in a psychiatrist, Dr. Alexandr Bukhanovsky (Max von Sydow) to create a psychological profile of the serial rapist and murder.
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5.0 out of 5 stars NOT JUST OUR PROBLEM Nov. 13 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Two things induced me to watch this film. One was that it intrigued me how serial killers can get away with it for so long. Britain's own most steadfast practitioner, the final count of whose victims, correct to the nearest hundred, has still to be determined, was the chairman of the parent/teacher association at the school my children attended, stepping down from his post the year before my elder first went there, so the issue was to that extent rather close to home. Britain, I thought, was one thing - we have been short of police for quite a while. The Soviet Union, I thought, was surely quite another. Whatever its shortcomings, I never heard of lack of police being one of them. My other motivator was to try to get a feel for how the investigation and prosecution was conducted in a totalitarian state. My belief in democracy is unwavering, but where public interest is aroused it is getting more and more difficult to understand how an impartial jury can be assembled. Less of a problem where news is subject to official control, I imagined.
The first thing I commend about this film is that it does not try to keep fighting the cold war. There are no heavy lessons in the virtues of Freedom and Democracy. The parties involved, even regrettably the killer Chikitilo himself, were ordinary sorts of people behaving much as one might expect in any stable society. We get a reminder of where all this is going on when Stephen Rea as the reluctant but dogged investigator expresses anxiety to his wife that he could be called for in the small hours, but the film sticks to its brief of telling a story rather than preaching or philosophising.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Well portrayed by the actors involved. An offal look ...
Well portrayed by the actors involved. An offal look at reality and history that was tried to hidden by the regime at the time.
Published 1 month ago by Dean Duke Cuthbert
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Story
This is a fascinating look at how denial and bureaucracy worked to obstruct a dedicated and very talented police investigator in the old Soviet Union. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Marty
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unknown Classic
I caught this movie on TV once and was blown away. Stephen Rea and Donald Sutherland put in amazing performances in this "based on real events' drama about Russias first serial... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Bootsy Bass
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible
HBO has put out some very good and respectable original movies over the years. Supergun, Path to War to name a few. Read more
Published on June 17 2004 by Joe Clay
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Realistic
This is the most realistic & best done serial killer movie ever
made it's a shame it didn't get the recognition it deserved.
Simply superb-get it !
Published on Feb. 9 2004 by Daniel James Macdonald
5.0 out of 5 stars work of art, truly amazing
This film is amazing. Mainly because it is based on a true story about a real killer. I guess this keeps you on the edge of your seat most of the time. Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2004 by "juddjs"
5.0 out of 5 stars Two of my favorite actors
I have always loved both Donald Sutherland and Stephen Rea so it was a dream come true to see them together in such a great film.
The movie is about how the ex U.S.S.R. Read more
Published on Nov. 25 2003 by MarianaP
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Movie.
I dont know why this never made it on prime time tv, I seen it late night on 2 occasions. It kept me riveted both times.
Far better than any US movie of its kind.
Published on Nov. 16 2003 by Dan
4.0 out of 5 stars Low key but intelligent, well executed and worthwhile
If I say this is a movie about a serial killer you might easily get the wrong idea. Since "Silence of the Lambs" especially, the typical serial killer film has been very much in... Read more
Published on Nov. 5 2003 by snalen
5.0 out of 5 stars Citizen X Gets an "A"
Combining the harsh, frustrating and highly-complex realities of Soviet bureaucratic existence with the passionate desire and efforts of a highly intelligent, methodical,... Read more
Published on March 13 2003 by Wachkatze
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