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1612 (2007)

1 rating: 1.0
Art House & International movie directed by Vladimir Khotinenko

“Reminiscent ofLord of the Rings” –Sunday Herald After the brutal slaughter of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family, Russia descends into chaos. Guided by faith and mysticism, Andrey, the only witness to the massacre, transforms himself … see full wiki

1 review about 1612 (2007)

Historically based Mayhem and Magic

  • Jul 6, 2010
Rating:
+1
1612: KHRONIKI SMUTNOGO VREMENI is a strange Russian epic seemingly composed of pasted together bits of history, myth, and fiction by writer Arif Aliyev and directed with a complete lack of continuity by Vladimir Khotinenko. Why these production choices were made in what is apparently supposed to be a critical turn of events in the history of Russia is unclear, but the reason for making the film seems to be to out-Hollywood Hollywood without the benefit of CGI that serve as Hollywood's main 'character' in epics of this sort.

Apparently from the title we are to accept this tale as a recreation of the death of Boris Fyodorovich Godunov (1551 - 1605) - de facto regent of Russia from 1584 to 1598 and then the first non-Rurikid tsar from 1598 to 1605. The end of his reign and the murder of his son saw Russia descend into the Time of Troubles. There was a witness to these murders, one Andrei (Pytor Kislov) who fell into serfdom and then into being a mercenary with his friend Kostka (Artur Smolyaninov) for the Polish hetman (Michal Zebrowsski). Apparently one Godonov remained, the Tsarina Kseniya (Violetta Davydovskaya) and was loved by both the Polish hetman and by Andrei. The entire film is an extended battle between the Polish and the Russians for the control of Moscow and the dream of the Polish hetman to marry Kseniya and ascend the throne as the new Tsar. The referenced year 1612 is the year of the Battle for Moscow when the Poles were successfully defeated making way for the rise of the Romanovs as the royal family of Russia.

Somewhere well hidden in this collage of decapitations and other examples of battlefield mayhem are the identities of the characters who populate this story, but the tale is so chopped up by amazingly bad editing (to the point that the film feels like there are large gaps missing as the screen simply goes dark frequently), by flights of fantasy that focus on a unicorn, moments when the past is recalled through the use of pixels of supposedly previously viewed material, and just plain lapses in plot details that the movie appears like a richly colorful blood bath with some unintentional (?) comedic moments. The machinations of the battle between the winged Poles and the oh-so-inventive Russians fighting against all odds border on absurd. But then perhaps that is the point of the film: war is madness and kingdoms are built by serendipity. It is a long song and tedious, but if you know the realities of Russian history it may be a very entertaining movie! Grady Harp, July 10

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