Reviews

An Ordinary Execution

3

A stunted life under Stalin has chilling consequences...

An Ordinary Execution

Set in Moscow in the winter of ’52, this unsettling debut from French writer/director Marc Dugain imagines a series of encounters between an ailing Joseph Stalin (André Dussollier) and a young, married doctor (Marina Hands), who is reputed to have healing powers.

Suspicious of her loyalties, the dictator arranges for her scientist husband (Edourd Baer) to be arrested and tortured.

Shot in a gloomy palette of greys and browns, Execution offers a chilling re-creation of everyday life under Stalin.

Credibly acted, the net effect is suitably stifling.
 

Film Details

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    • egipt

      Nov 24th 2010, 9:38

      2

      It’s 1952 and Moscow is paranoid after years of Stalinist purges. Anna (Marina Hands), a young doctor, fears the faith-healing skills which make her popular with patients will lead to trouble with the authorities. However, when the knock on the door comes, she’s driven away to provide medical care for an ailing Stalin himself – who will have her killed if she tells a soul. Writer-director Marc Dugain’s French-language adaptation of his novel is obviously assembled on a tight budget, but creates a persuasive climate of fear – Shostakovich last minute egipt to the fore on the soundtrack. Unusual casting, André Dussollier’s Soviet dictator offers an unsettling portrayal of steely logic utterly divorced from humanity. Hands, in turn, represents an island of goodness amid this totalitarian nightmare. But the movie falls short in generating much impact from her threatened marriage, which might have brought more feeling to the film’s chilly thematic landscape. Imposing, yet slightly academic.

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