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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Russian criminal movies

There's a lot of films being made about the mafia and of course the Russian mafia. Most foreign movies about the Russian mob are rubbish, though one does have a few true facts and gives some real insight into the real thing. That movie is "Eastern Promises".

What Russian films were or are being made about the mafia?

In Russia, films, shows and miniseries about crime are quite popular. It is not always necessary to have excessive violence, shooting or explosions in these films or tv shows for them to be successful or enjoy popularity. Why? Well, because these films are about day to day life and other things that the audience can relate to, besides being about crime or mafia. There's of course false or exaggerated films. Here are some of the best crime films made in Russia.



Brother(1997)

The first good action drama film, made after a long pause in Russian film-making. After the fall of the Soviet Union, economy was at an all-time low and film-making along with other entertainment like sports was going through a hard time.

In short, Brother was about a young man named Danila that comes to visit his brother in St. Petersburg after serving in the army. Turns out, his brother is working as a hit-man and and offers Danila some "work".

There's no explosions or car-chases in the film, but it's quite interesting and insightful. It offers a good look at the Russian criminal world as well as regular everyday life in the early 90's.
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Brother-2(2000)

Danila's adventures continue, but only now in the U.S.A. Danila goes to America to help a Russian hockey player in the NHL get back money that a manager is taking from him through a dirty contract.

The film is not very realistic, unlike the first. This film is aiming to be an answer to all the American movies where American gangsters, police or heroes go to Russia and take down all the Russian "bad guys".
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Banditskiy Petersburg

Banditskiy Petersburg was one of the most popular Russian crime drama mini-series in a slew of many. It was made up of 7 parts, each part ranging from 5-12 episodes.

In short, it was at times an accurate account of different crime groups fighting for power in early 90's St. Petersburg and other major cities.
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Brigade(2002)

One of the more costly of Russian mini-series from the crime genre made up of 15 episodes. Each episode cost around 250,000-300,000 dollars to make.

It is a story of 4 friends who establish a criminal organization in the 90's. It would be difficult to summarize 15 episodes, but in short, the plot revolves around the groups criminal activities and rise to power.
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Boomer(2003)

Crime drama about the adventure of 4 friends while driving a black BMW M7 e38. This is one of the most famous Russian films which also added to the popularity of the BMW in Russian pop culture.

The cell phone ring-tone of the main character in the film became so popular that the author of the ring was rumored to have made close to 1 million dollars off the sales.
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Boomer-2(2006)

The sequel to the first film. Here the story revolves around a BMW X5 e53.

This film is more of a drama than an action flick.
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Zhmurki(2005)

A hilarious comedy about 2 friends driving around on a BMW M5 e34 and their boss Mihalich. One of the better Russian comedies of the time. The action takes place in the 90's so there's lots of dead bodies and just as many stars of Russian contemporary cinema. The director of the film is Balabanov, a great film-maker who also directed Brother 1 and 2.

Zhmurki in english is Blind Man's Bluff or something like that.
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Racketeer(2007)

This is a crime drama made in Kazakhstan about the life of a young boxer who in the early 90's joins a criminal organization and becomes a racketeer.

A very good and honest film. The story takes place in Kazakhstan.

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