Svetlana Utinova, Anna Chipovskaya, Evgeniy Tsyganov, Mikhail Efremov
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Not as incendiary as it believes it is being…
Charging over the horizon like a cartoon Thelma and Louise, Blockbuster is the latest film from director Roman Volobuev (The Cold Front). In it we see Liza (Svetlana Ustinova), a TV presenter on the wrong the side of her mid-thirties, reluctantly partnering up with Natasha (Anna Chipovskaya) a wannabe model on the run from the police, her money hungry boyfriend and a violent debt collector. You know, the usual.
Underneath the screwball comedy and stylised violence, Blockbuster has something it wants to say; feminist themes run throughout, but don’t necessarily run deep. Punches are thrown at the media’s obsession with youth and beauty without many of them making contact. Perhaps the sharpest dig comes when a female producer applauds an impassioned speech about women’s rights during the recording of a show, before immediately requesting it be aired with the overtly feminist parts cut out.
Whilst its intent is good, further issues arise when we throw our two leads under the microscope. In a film that promotes the ever-changing facets of being a woman, strip away Volobuev’s kinetic visuals and our two heroes come across as one-dimensional with no believable life offscreen. We know Liza feels like a nobody despite her fame because she literally tells us, whilst Natasha’s mental health is boiled to ‘crazy’ with a self-confession of needing pills.
The lack of characterisation is, however made up for by the film’s two leads, who bounce off each other well enough. Chipovskaya, in particular, is actually a lot of fun to watch as the whirlwind in skinny jeans that sweeps through Liza’s life.
Not as incendiary as it believes it is being – or sadly as funny – Blockbuster is an enjoyable enough experience that could really do with putting the breaks on once in a while and changing gears from manic to reflective in order to get its point across.