The Fool

2014

Crime / Drama / Thriller

31
IMDb Rating 8 10 9,998

Synopsis


Downloaded times
May 12, 2020

Director

Cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.08 GB
1280*720
Russian 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
116 min
P/S N/A / N/A
2.01 GB
1920×1080
Russian 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
116 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by JvH48 9 / 10 / 10

Solid black portrait of contemporary Russia, showing the full meaning of corruption (bureaucrats) or hopeless lives without a future (lower classes)

Newspaper articles in March of 2015 about an alleged political murder let us recall what we learned in school about cleptocracy, or government corruption in plain English. In hindsight, not a new phenomenon in contemporary Russia, existing for many years already, but it stayed for me under the radar until lately. The first time it drew my attention was in the form of a movie, Twilight Portrait (Nikonova 2011), albeit that it could be downplayed as the proverbial rotten apples spoiling it for the whole police force. Later on I saw two others extending the theme, namely A Long And Happy Life (Khlebnikov 2013) and Leviathan (Zvyagintsev 2014), both showing corruption as deep-rooted in the bureaucracy. Especially politicians seem more involved with their own career and wealth than in their care for the average citizen. It still can be much worse, however, as demonstrated in Durak (The Fool), written and directed by Yuriy Bykov. This time it seems that all of Russian society is infected with the same disease, not only politicians and related bureaucrats. His previous film The Major (2013) was more modest in scope, and confined to a well meant cover-up to protect the career of a fellow policeman. Nevertheless, all these movies portray the same corruption in Russian society, only varying in scope and depth. Corruption seems extinguished in our Western society, and something that only still persists in third-world countries far away. Despite being no third world country, all aforementioned movies suggest that Russia is deeply soaked with corruption. It is something that Durak (The Fool) demonstrates in several scenes, showing that going along with the crowd in taking what you can get "everyone does it", is the only way to survive, even necessary to obtain at least a minimal level of comfort in your lives. It is precisely in these fine details that this movie excels. Apart from corruption, alcohol is shown to be a main source for comfort and relief of the daily boredom and poor circumstances. Another way to pass the time is fighting, mostly about lack of money or living space, usually both. It applies especially to the apartment building in question, showcasing how the lowest of the lower class live and how they interact with each other. Durak's total running time of 116 minutes may seem long for modern viewers. Admittedly, it takes its time to outline many facts of contemporary life in Russia. We are lucky to be able to see that, and as such our time is far from wasted. I could only think of one single scene that took too long for my taste, while our main character Dima walks to the restaurant where the city council has a party to celebrate the mayor's 20-years anniversary. It is shown in the form of very long uninterrupted take while following Dima along empty streets and dark houses, apparently to show the absence of a lively city center. It succeeds in leaving the impression that everyone is at home, probably drinking or fighting as seems the common way to pass the time in the various apartments visited throughout the story. All other scenes serve their purpose very well in zooming in on the people and their motives. Take for instance the meeting with department heads convened by the mayor, where Dima has the opportunity to explain the problem and its urgency. The next scene shows Dima, accompanied by two of the department heads, how he convincingly demonstrates the sorry state of the building. Upon their return to the meeting and the seriousness is sinking in, everyone is very busy with establishing the impact on their own position, anticipating the findings of an afterward investigation when the apartment building really would collapse. It makes clear to us that the corruption is not limited to this city council alone, but extends to the levels above them. In other words, there is no simple way to get loose from this tangled web. The mayor and the department heads play their roles very well, and we have ample chance to observe their dilemma's and their reasoning which actions to take (or not). Dima's family life is also portrayed very well in several parts of the story. The opening scene shows him studying for an exam to get a civil engineering degree, while his mother says it is a waste of time. Instead, he should rather "give" the examiners something to assure good marks. A similar discussion is about Dima's refusal to steal pipes from the factory where he works, in spite of "everyone else does it". The central theme of the story is whether the city council will act responsibly and evacuate the apartment building, not an easy task while other premises to accommodate 820 people has to be found. I do not want to reveal further developments for spoilers sake. It can scatter in all directions until the very end, and indeed some unexpected turns of events are part of the deal here. Ultimately, there are no winners, only losers. It is very depressing all over, but I don't think a positive ending is reasonably possible in these circumstances. All in all, acted and shot very well. Actors perform believably, even the "bad" ones. We get a good feeling why they do what they do. Actually they seem to have little alternative. That also is sadly the case for the inhabitants of the apartment building, who we observe in miserable circumstances, riddled with alcohol, noise and violence. The only problem I have with Durak (the Fool) is, that it is indeed depressingly black all over. Apart from Dami, it was totally devoid of gray and white, while aforementioned other movies with the same theme showed at least a few decent and honest people, leaving room for the conclusion that the average citizen lives a normal life, neither through-and-through corrupt (bureaucrats) nor without hope (lower classes).

Reviewed by marine-core 10 / 10 / 10

Very honest depiction of Russian realities.

This movie could be a documentary on Russian society, it's hopes and fears, it's ideology, the eternal conflict between people and government officials, the dark and hopeless landscape of human minds where one can still choose to be human. As a Russian myself, having lived in my homeland for 34 years already, I can say that there's nothing that will tell you more about Russians than this movie. It is not a heroic WW2 nonsense, not a dumb czar era pictures, but modern life as it is. The things you will see in the film are definitely depressing and hopeless, showing the state of decay in society «God created this kind of life and he made us live it.».

Reviewed by markmellon 10 / 10 / 10

Who are you to mess with the system?

Durak is a gem of a movie. It showcases a rare combination of suspense and philosophical questioning, rendering it a very entertaining film that leaves you thinking about it way past the end credits. The characters in Durak are well developed, even those that do not get a lot of screen time. We get to know them, see how they live, understand their priorities and their motives. Deeper than that though, where the movie really excels is in exposing the nature and mighty power of the highly entangled system of corruption and how each individual character is both its co-creator and its puppet. In a city with a corrupt council, a 9-floor high building block is about to collapse. It needs to be urgently evacuated. The corrupt city officials face the prospect of criminal proceedings against them if hundreds of tenants die under the rubles. Will they be able to rise above the profitable network of kickbacks and favors that they have been milking for a long time? Or have they been diving too deep into the sweet scum of corruption to get into the surface on time to actually do something useful for their poor citizens? What about the poor citizens themselves? Living for decades in a dilapidated building under miserable circumstances, one would guess that change is what they desperately need. But 30 years is a long time. It is time enough for people to get used to the situation, to get to know to hate it, but also to cling to it at the same time as the only tangible piece of reality that still belongs to them. Reality in the form of a derelict pile of bricks that nevertheless stands as a barrier between their life on the one hand and death lurking in the snowy streets on the other. A pile of bricks where corruption also thrives, with a thread made of vodka and violence menacing the residents but also structuring the network of reality around them. Will they be willing to forgo everything and start anew or are they also too entangled to a mighty system of their own, unable to leave it behind even in the prospect of imminent death? The force that poses these questions and stirs things up is the protagonist, Durak. He sees reality as it is and is determined to do something about it. He has no other choice, letting things be and following the song of the Sirenes of corruption is just not like him. He is the Socratean fly that sends ripples through the system, that forces the system to face its own stink and atrocity. What does that make him? The Hero or the Fool? Do not be mistaken and take a comfortable distance from this movie, classifying it as an interesting depiction of corruption in Russia. This is not about Russia, this movie is about you. In whatever place you might live, it's you that is also noticing the web of corruption around you and the injustice, the desperation and the misery that it causes. It's you that decides to silently take part in it, in little or greater measure, or at least let it be and try to make a living somehow. It's you that keeps thinking from time to time that someone needs to do something about it all, that you need to take action to help people, to help yourself. But what would that make you? The Hero or Durak, the Fool?

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