A Horror film, without any blood'n guts, a devilish job on your imagination.It's about a Russian truck drivers journey, during the late 90's. Factories, Villages, roads, everything seems to fall apart. You can't distinguish between the Police and the Robbers. Both seem to be out to get the drivers cargo, or some kickback, protection money and so on, from our poor protagonist. The social transactions between the truck driver and random population will turn out way different than you first anticipate. Without giving any spoilers, this movie will stick to your mind, for a long time to come. Compare it with one of your "average" nightmares. I could only compare it to movies like Gruz 200, or a french movie with Juliette Binoche, I've seen more than 30 years ago, where She has a car accident, where She roams in a world of "Dantes Inferno", not knowing that She's dead.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Horrific and Dark.March 13 2012
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It was said that American films were good for the box office, but Russian films were good for the soul. That was back when Russian was all 15 republics and it was the USSR. Nothing has changed, it has only improved and Mein Gluk is one of the darkest, if not THE darkest films ever made. I'd put it in a league with A. Tarkovsky's 1979 film "Stalker" for pure paranoia, insanity and photography only possible in an expanse like Russia. I would not advise watching this too close to bedtime, or while drinking a lot of Vodka. This film will 'creep you out' and it will do this without the special effects, camera tricks or other cinematic gadgetry used in the West. I give this 5 stars for being totally astonishing. I could name scenes I found 'impossible' but that might limit your enjoyment. If you cannot buy this, borrow it or rent it. This film is worthy.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
the map to nowhere ends hereJune 14 2012
Russell E. Scott
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This unique Russian film shares an unsettling that was established a few years back with releases of 4 and Cargo 200. Both those films told the discovery and unveiling of a Russia that no longer has a moral compass, sense of focus, pride of self worth. What we saw was a complete spinning out of control for no purpose anyone can surmise. I once was infatuated with the rich culture and pride these people had for love of mother and country. Even in face of a steady string of ruthless rulers, these people of this most mysterious and powerful of nations did have an inner love and pride that no longer lives. Russia has now hit a bottom no abyss can measure in any tangible terms.
My Joy continues the unraveling beyond any sense of normalcy as violence and unruly behavior rule the day, roads, and small communities. In a world that has no center this one has spun into a hell beyond my conception. Our protagonist truck driver seems amiable enough, but his delivery of flour to some X mark spot on the map will never reach it's destination.
Nor will he ever awake to know the person whom he once looked into a mirror at and saw himself. Several viewing are necessary to just get a grasp of what you are watching. Unlike anything before it, My Joy can refer to an ideal that once had substance. In the Russia of today, the legions of hell have risen out of every crack and crevice. They run amok unchallenged and survival is a daily task. Evil wears a mask and it is on every face in a country gone into chasms of eternal flames. Out of a basketfull of bastards, they come levying meaness unknown to the average novice of western culture and educational background. I guess this film has a purpose and beauty. It is done so at the risk of spoiling any favorite nations one might nurture a crush for in complete naivety. Watch at your tolerance level. I personally love this sick stuff. I can't get enough and imagine I'll still go even at the risk of my own demise.
P.S. it helps to faintly understand this film if you have watch 4 and Cargo 200 which introduce the modern insanity in full measure.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
flawed but moving and powerfulApril 6 2013
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This film exudes a miasma of menace in hidden yet tangible ways and even on a soft summer day. It is very uncomfortable to watch and unnerving. It devolves into later scenarios that can be brutal or heart-wrending but all woven into a realistic tableaux. Life in Russia is not this grim but it can get that grim so there is no escaping from this film's comment on post- soviet Russia. A maddening fault in the film is what happened to the naive truck driver in the beginning. He was transporting flour. And next, there is a taciturn, hardened, bearded man selling flour in the market. IZ it the same man after he fell through the cracks? I only got a good look at him towards the end of the film. I was able to verify it's the same guy from comparing opening shots of the truck-driver. It falls in with the story's thread because I had originally thought " The poor bugger- the fool needs a gun", which fits with the ending. Falling through a crack means we do not get to see how he fell through, which mirrors the nature of cracks themselves. This lack of accountability is a re-occuring theme in the film. There is a terrible anonimity to individuals and yet each is yet living their life in their own quiet or hidden ways in earnest. The value of human life becomes lifeless when there is no rule of law in soceity. This seems to be the message of the film. There is a scene of an old soldier recounting doing Stalin's dirty buisness in the purges as if to show not much has changed. The film is scary and sad because it does not veer from the fragility of people's lives, where to be kind is to be an outsider and therefore vunerable. The film does not use extras; at one point it pans for quite a long time on the locals at a small town in the middle of nowhere. Of course he asked them not to grin or crack jokes at the time but it does paint a grim and stoic kind of soceity. Incidentally, the same thing is happening in English cities for economic reasons as the " feudal" order re-establishes itself after flirting with socialist influences after ww1 until Thatcherism. I liked the philosphy of the truck-driver the bearded one meets at the end. " Don't interefere "he said, "And if you do don't be greedy because that is interfering too." : keep a card up your sleeve. It was a suggestive double-edged gem that seemed to be a metaphor for how Russia will dig themselves out of post-communism. It almost seemed to refer to how Putin is working behind the scenes , like a spook still, to keep and regain order. There is nothing fair or democratic about how america or the uk or many european countries run behind the scenes. We have our own ogliarchy when 1% own 40% of the country's wealth. Russia is growing in wealth; it could also happen in the future. People rig order behind the scenes even in anarchy. It's the order imposed from the top that is the problem. The truck driver imposes order on anarchy at the end as an individual. It chillingly the same actions of the old guy he picks up right at the start of the film. There are a few scenes that are too darkly lit. It was distracting not having a clue who certain people are and how they fit in. Although, as with the truck-driver, it could probably be resolved by watching it a few times? A fragmented film to illustrate a fragmented soceity. It is annoying viewing at times. A problem solved by owning it and rewatching worth it.
A pastel of Russian cultural lifeMarch 19 2014
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The plot of this film is the sum of its parts. It is a strong expression of humanity's resolve to best the worst of times. The film cleverly oscillates between the past and the present in such a way that you won't discern between the two as they swing together like a revolving door for an audience to peer into the private lives of everyday Russians. I also found this film something in the way of Turgenev's, 'Sketches found in a Hunter's album.'
It Just Doesn't Get More Depressing Than ThisMarch 6 2014
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OK, for film craftsmanship I could have given this a 5-star rating. But the overall impression is simply depressing. I can think of very few other films that have been in the same category of being a major downer. There are very few characters in this film that have any redeeming qualities and the ones that do generally get killed. You have to think of some of the dark 70's movies like "Looking For Mr. Goodbar", "Night Moves", and "Deer Hunter" for films that are as depressing and that is kind of a reach: neither of those flicks approach this dark, brooding, ominous, relentless downward spiral of a movie.
Perhaps the scariest thing about this movie is the ring of truth to it. This is a Russian film maker's take on what has happened to his country. The mafia-like thugs that you read about in the newspaper articles about Russia come to life here. In essence, the film is about a divided society. The only thing is that we never see the wealthy in this film. This is a film about the rest of Russia; the ordinary people who suffer under the thugs until some become thugs themselves in order to survive.
The most poignant scene of all comes relatively early when a kindly young truck driver enters a village where people are lining up at the market. Long lines of people in search of sparse commercial goods. The expressions on their faces reveal a people that have been beaten down. After watching this film it is easy to see why alcoholism becomes rampant.
There is a fair amount of violence in the movie -- a violence that reveals something about ourselves. We see enough people getting victimized that in the very few occasions when a victim strikes back it comes off as a relief, almost a catharsis. Justice is rarely done and only the victims can make it happen because law enforcement is completely compromised. No one who is in a position to do any good is willing to step forward. This is a society that has dissolved.
Again, the movie is well crafted but unless you are really really into dark films I would give it a miss.