Director: Gabriele Salvatores
Starring: John Malkovich, Arnas Fedaravicius
In this new film from the celebrated Italian director Gabriele Salvatores, a young boy from a small Russian town gets an education in assassination from his grandfather (John Malkovich). Sombre and grim, this coming-of-age tale keeps the scale small but the issues big, hinting at wider questions of good and evil in the world, but an inability to offer truly memorable moments creates a ceiling artistically. The film’s strengths lie jointly in Salvatores’ gorgeous script and Malkovich’s powerful performance – eccentric, complicated and just a little bit terrifying, it shows an actor revelling in a meaty role after a few years of milking the studio system. Dark and in moments engrossing, the film hints at shades of crime-drama classics but just falls short of joining their ranks.
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