“Viktor” is a film noir set in modern Russia, where century’s old architecture clashes with the contemporary city of nightclubs and art galleries. Viktor (Gerard Depardieu) is a Frenchman, who has many dealings in Russia. He has been away serving time in a French prison for seven years, only to come back to try to find out who killed his son. He is first greeted by a detective, trying to solve a stolen painting cold case she suspects Viktor perpetrated. The detective is more interested in solving the missing painting case then the murder of Viktor’s son.
Seeing that he won’t get any help from the police, Viktor seeks help from an old friend, a renowned Chechen ballet choreographer named Souliman (Eli Danker) and a former lover and partner in crime, Alexandra (Elizabeth Hurley). Everywhere Viktor turns there seems to be another roadblock. Even his son’s girlfriend won’t help, telling him that his son was involved with a bad crowd, dealing in drugs and money laundering. Viktor decides the only way to get answers is to take on the Russian mob by breaking a few heads on the dirty streets of Moscow. Viktor is determined to find his son’s killer or die trying.
The film is beautifully shot, and the composition by Director of Photography Jean-Francois Hensgens brings out the stunning Russian landscape. Unfortunately, the beauty of the film is brought down by the clunky dialogue and the slow, plodding plot. Except for Hurley, English is not first language for most of this European cast, making it hard to understand at times what they are saying. The first half of the script, written by writer / director Philippe Martinez, is excruciating slow, taking forever to introduce us to the main characters. Depardieu spends the first thirty minutes of the film walking the streets seemingly lost until he encounters a landmark or two. I did like some of the action sequences, with a car chase at night through the streets of the city the highlight of the film. However, it doesn’t make up for the slow pace. Once Viktor figures out who killed his son, it takes way too long for the revenge to take place.
There is no chemistry between Depardieu and Hurley, making them more like acquaintances. Their scenes together seem forced and uncomfortable. In fact, there is more intensity between Depardieu and Danker, playing his right-hand man, then there is between the two so-called lovers. I have always like Depardieu, but he is just too restrained in the role. I would have liked a more passionate performance from him. Not once so you see the fury or the pain that the role needed from a grieving father than is capable of getting his revenge. Hurley is never asked to do more than look cool and beautiful. Many of the supporting actors seemed to have been cast from the “Russian School of acting like a mobster.”
The film certainly looks the part of a noir genre film and benefits greatly from filming on the means streets of Russia. But the movie lacks substance, going for more style than plot. I would have preferred a faster pace with bolder action sequences. It’s a film that looks great, but never delivers the goods. You never get the suspenseful action movie that you want, ultimately wasting the talents of Depardieu. My Rating: Cable
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
“Viktor” is playing exclusively at AMC Colonial 18 Theatres