Writer-director-editor-composer Yury Bykov’s electrically paced, flawlessly performed suspense drama is both a brutal metaphor for the corruption of post-Soviet Russia and a furiously entertaining thriller.
The lives of hundreds are at stake in this compulsive Russian suspense drama that does double service as a vehement exposé of a society devoured by crony capitalism. Investigating a burst pipe in a decaying provincial housing project, plumber and student engineer Dima (Artem Bystrov) discovers two massive cracks running the length of the building. Realising that the block is about to collapse, he decides that the mayor must be alerted at once, even if it’s the night of her 50th birthday celebration. The party is in no mood for whistle-blowing plumbers, but faced with Dima’s mounting alarm, the assembled councillors and contractors sober up enough to recognise what scams a fatal collapse might expose.
“The third film of writer-director Yury Bykov, The Fool is also his best. An explosive combination of highly personal moral drama and a wider, scathing portrait of a country in which corruption and greed seem to be the only shared values left, this well-oiled narrative machine is further aided by a clever ticking-clock mechanism that actually ratchets up the tension the longer the characters’ vodka-soaked, blame-game speeches are allowed to go on…