Citizen X [Import]
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March 26 1996
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Parcel Dimensions : 18.6 x 10.64 x 2.85 cm; 173.88 Grams
- Director : Chris Gerolmo
- Media Format : NTSC, Import
- Run time : 1 hour and 45 minutes
- Release date : March 26 1996
- Actors : Stephen Rea, Donald Sutherland, Max von Sydow, Jeffrey DeMunn, Joss Ackland
- Studio : Hbo Home Video
- Producers : David R. Ginsburg, Laura Bickford, Matthew Chapman, Robert Stone, Timothy Marx
- ASIN : 6303461484
- Writers : Chris Gerolmo, Robert Cullen
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
Based on the true story of a Russian serial killer who, over many years, claimed over 50 victims, mostly under the age of 17. In what was then a Communist state, the police investigations were hampered by bureaucracy, incompetence and those in power. The story is told from the viewpoint of the detective in charge of the case. - Written by Rob Hartill
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The film starts in the early 1980's, with several bodies - in varying stages of decomposition - being discovered in woodland. An investigation begins, led by Viktor Burakov (played by Stephen Rea), but his efforts to find and apprehend the man responsible are hampered - due to both the bureaucratic nature of the USSR and the unwillingness of the authorities to acknowledge that a serial killer even exists! While the chair-person of the committee dealing with the case, Col. Mikhail Fetisov (played by Donald Sutherland), seeks to provide support and assistance, the Communit Party representative (portrayed by Joss Ackland) refuses to aid Burakov's investigation.
And so the killer, Andrei Chikatilo (Jeffrey DeMunn), continues to get away with murder for years ... Only after the fall of Communism do circumstances change, and finally the perpetrator is caught. But Chikatilo refuses to confess - and is about to be released. At last minute, psychiatrist Bukhanovsky (Max von Sydow) gets involved - and succeeds (in a highly poignant moment) in getting Chikatilo to talk. Finally the criminal is brought to justice.
The events depicted in this movie are horrific. Yet it's a highly interesting crime thriller, and I thoroughly recommend it.
While this is a region 1 DVD, it works perfectly on my region 2 player.
This is indeed a stunning tv film by HBO and compounded their success as innovative broadcasters from the 90's to this day.
Foremost are the performances by Donald Sutherland, Stephen Rea and Jeffery DeMunn as the Russian serial killer Andrei Chickatilo who captures exactly the character of Chickatilo---dehumanized, sexually frustrated, impotent, despicable.
The bureaucracy of the old Soviet empire is paramount in holding back the search for the killer and this is cleverly shown throughout and drives the characters played by Sutherland (immaculate in a Russian colonel's uniform) and Rea (untidy and down-at-heel).
Special mention to Max von Sydow as a psychiatrist brought in to help profile the killer. His cameo was pivotal in the film and brought some light relief to his scenes before the final confrontation and interrogation.
I don't think I'm giving too much away as this is based on the true story of Russia's most prolific serial killer.
A terrific film that I find utterly absorbing every time I watch it.
Citizen X shares the grey pallor and sense of dreary evil, but instead of theatricalising the horror with a flamboyant pair of psychopaths (Lecter and Buffalo Bill), it focuses more acutely on the police investigation, the victims and fellow travellers. It isn't as exciting as 'Lambs' but it is more emotionally involving and not just because the story is true. More tragic than horrific, with a few welcome incidents of mordant humour. Scenes of violence are mostly muted.
Stephen Rea plays the part of the detective given the unenviable task of catching the serial killer, whose identity is not hidden from the audience. He has a sympathetic ear in the form of Donald Sutherland as his immediate superior, but is stonewalled by everyone else in the Communist establishment. There lies the true horror of the story: the killer merely epitomises the evil of the state bureaucracy, which wilfully keeps serious crimes hidden in order to preserve an illusion of good government. The excellent Joss Ackland plays an especially nasty minister.
There's no question that Citizen X is a grim film, but it is also a story full of loving, passionate, resolute individuals striving for good in the face of seemingly irrevocable evil. A film of personal transformation - the detective, his boss, the psychiatrist - all are changed by the investigation, and of hope defeating despair.
Recommended with enthusiasm.
The story itself while not too gory gives a chilling insight into both the mind of a serial killer and the stifling beauracracy of the old Soviet Union, even going so far as to call serial killers as a decadent western invention-obviously they failed to recognise such people in the USSR at the time.
I digress. Buy it, the story, acting and characterisation is superb. I was gripped from start to finish on first watching years ago and that returned when I watched it last night.