Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Viktor: Depardieu: Art Thief, Action Hero, Friend of Putin
for his next action picture, Gérard Depardieu could team up with fellow
friend-of-Putin Steven Seagal to fight for lies, injustice, and the Neo-Soviet
way. Best of all, he would not pay any French taxes on his earnings. Another
strange chapter in the Depardieu saga opens with Philippe Martinez’s bizarrely
watchable Russian payback thriller, Viktor
opens tomorrow in New York.
doing a seven year stretch in his native France, expatriate art thief Viktor
Lambert has returned to Russian to get to the bottom of his son Jeremy’s
murder. Plutova, a hot Russian copper, immediately puts him on notice not to
try any gangster stuff. She also requests his “assistance” tracking down a
still missing masterwork heisted from the modern art museum. Of course, Lambert
has different ideas.
the help of his old art thief-choreographer crony Souliman, Lambert figures out
his son was killed by an elite gang of gem smugglers, in about fifteen minutes
of highly motivated asking-around. However, before he can go on the offensive,
Lambert will need a place to stash his son’s pregnant girlfriend. Fortunately,
his old flame Alexandra Ivanov has a country home and a couple of loyal retainers
to spare. There will also be a day trip to Chechnya, where Jeremy Lambert is
Martinez rather forthrightly presents the gangsterism running rampant in Putin’s
Russia, but watching Depardieu stomp through the streets of Moscow just makes
the head spin. Wisely, most of his action scenes have him hunkered down behind
the wheel of a speeding car or trading gun shots from a fixed cover position. At
least we cannot hear him audibly wheeze, like in Chabrol’s Inspector Bellamy.
nobody should ever doubt Elizabeth Hurley’s acting chops ever again, because as
the sultry Ivanov, she never busts up laughing during her romantic afterglow
scenes with Depardieu. In fact, she brings some spark and presence to the
proceedings. Likewise, Eli Danker’s Souliman is hardly shy when it comes to
fretfully chewing the scenery and Evgeniya Akhremenko is appealingly cool and severe
as Plutova. Unfortunately, the villains are a rather dull, forgettable lot.
is perfectly presentable, sporting a suitably noir sheen thanks to
cinematographer Jean-François Hensgens (whose credits include the super-charged
District 13: Ultimatum). Still, it is
awfully hard to get one’s head around Depardieu, the action hero, in Chechnya.
Recommended for members of the U.S.-Putin Friendship Society, Viktor opens tomorrow (10/24) in New
York at the Cinema Village.
Labels: Elizabeth Hurley, Gerard Depardieu