Russia 88


Visceral mock documentary following some Russian skinheads will leave a bitter taste

Russia 88 review 

Romper Stomper, La Haine and Man Bites Dog are given a Russian spin in this mock-doc exposé following a vicious gang of skinheads bruising their way round the outskirts of Moscow.

This being the modern age, they gleefully film their every move for YouTube, be it bumping into an aunt, sounding off about race war in their ‘boxing club’ or viciously beating any non-Russians they can find.

Yes, it’s our old, unpleasant friend, the skinhead-as-social-nightmare flick, and while it’s not blisteringly original the execution is outstanding.

Scrupulously researched real incidents are re-enacted with horrendous accuracy, much of the propaganda characters spout is taken from genuine videos, and the gang’s costumes are even bought from the same stores favoured by their real-life counterparts.

This authenticity gets more disturbing with the inclusion of unstaged vox pops, where randomly selected Russians reveal attitudes that would make Nick Griffin blush.

Scenes suggesting the gang’s collusion with the authorities caused a storm in the Kremlin, and who can blame them? Big social questions are rarely asked with such force.

That said, director Pavel Bardin’s spent so much time getting the details right that a late-movie spin into predictable tragedy feels perfunctory and tacked-on.

It’s a shame, because lead yob Pyotr Fyodorov’s searingly intense performance deserves to go out on a more plausible note.

Be warned though, for all its verisimilitude, the copious racist rhetoric and general bad vibes mean this is probably the worst date DVD since Antichrist.

Film Details

  • 18
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: May 31st 2011
  • Genre

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