Friday, September 1, 2023


This is the story of Samuel who is taken in by a foster family. They have taken him in because doing so gives them extra money. Samuel is a broken child. His mother is gone to an uncertain fate and his father was killed by the police. He is prone to violent outbursts. There are some bright spots, such as the girl next door who seems attracted to him. But things are not always smooth and there is no certainty for the stoic young man.

An allegorical and at times cold tale ASTRAKAN is a tough film to love. It's a film that dwells in the same cruel world of Todd Solondz's films. While I like the characters and the craft, the narrative is at times much too obtuse for its own good. For example, there is little sense of any time frame. The film is also very coy about what happens at times. Things are not said for a chunk of the film and then in a ten-minute sequence set to classical music at the end of the film fills in some details. It’s a sequence that in some ways I liked and in others I didn’t because we didn’t need to know some of what we are shown.(we didn’t need to have the abuse more concretely spelled out).

While exceedingly well made and beautifully acted I never fully warmed to the film. To me the film was trying too hard to be about something with the result it never felt alive.

Worth a look for the craft but expect to be chilled.

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