Khodorkovsky

"Very Good"

Khodorkovsky Review


This thorough documentary outlines a shocking political situation in Russia, making a very strong case against the current government's dirty politics and then backing that up with the facts. No wonder it was banned there. It's an important film, even if it suffers from information overload.

Far ahead of his time, Mikhail Khodorkovsky was the richest people in the world, but when he endorsed Vladimir Putin's opponent in an election he found himself charged with tax evasion and sentenced to eight years in a Siberian prison. Meanwhile, Putin's cronies took over his oil empire. Most of Khodorkovsky's colleagues fled the country to escape the sudden crack-down, and none of them really knows why he was arrested, aside from the fact that he accused the government of corruption.

The doc is assembled with a first-person narration from the perspective of filmmaker Tuschi as he investigates the case Michael Moore-style with his slightly goofy camera crew. Asking questions and digging into the story, he's met with evasion from politicians and hushed facts from insiders. Accompanying this are animated illustrative sequences and comments from Khodorkovsky's family, outlining his life and career with plenty of detail. And everything's illustrated with a remarkable array of photos, TV clips and startling footage from inside government meetings.

Despite a whiff of pretension, Tuschi's film maintains a lively pace, with a growing sense of impending doom as the stakes get higher and dark facts are revealed, such as a link to Alexander Litvinenko's murder by radiation in London in 2006. There are also connections with George Bush Sr and other officials. And as the narrative continues, the story becomes so densely layered that we're not sure we can cope with one more morsel of information.

Fortunately, Tuschi maintains a sense of dry wit that makes several sequences blackly funny (including an interview with Nina Kravets, "DJ and dentist"). And the filmmaker's tenacity is rewarded when he gets a short interview with Khodorkovsky himself during a later trial, at which his sentence was extended by six years. In the end, the film paints a picture of a nation still untouched by the rule of law. But the filmmaker could probably have said this in half the time.



Khodorkovsky

Facts and Figures

Run time: 111 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 30th November 2011

Box Office USA: $38.6k

Distributed by: Kino Lorber

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Fresh: 25 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Cyril Tuschi

Producer: Cyril Tuschi

Also starring:

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