Saturday, 11 July 2009
Lilja 4-ever: A Review
Now what is this? It's a Swedish film (though mostly in Russian and not very famous). And how I came to know about it is a little story in itself.
I am a fan of the Bourne film series, and just out of curiousity (I simply love to read about my favourite films) I was researching about the whole series. While going about it I came across Oksana Akinshina who had a small role in the second Bourne film, The Bourne Supremacy. Reading further about her, I found that she was in a highly acclaimed film 'Lilja 4-ever' by a Swedish director, Lukas Moodysson a few years earlier (in 2002). From the inrefutable Sir Wikipedia I came to know that this film was about poverty and human trafficking in Europe. Hmmm... for a person like me sitting in India, it is sometimes a little tough to visualize such evils (usually associated with third world countries) amongst the picturesque slopes of Europe. The user comments in IMDb further tempted me, and at last I decided, "Yes! It must be viewed." And indeed it was.
Shot in a partly documentary manner and set in some former USSR republic, it is an extremely bleak drama about a girl named Lilja (pronounced Lilya). It's the story of her downward spiral as her life goes from bad to absolute hell. The starting scene with the Rammstein song 'My Heart Burns' sets the harsh tone of the film as it tries to highlight the dual issues of human trafficking and sexual slavery. The sex montages are successful in juxtaposing the ugliness of the world and of the men who take advantage of another's distress and the innocence of Lilja. Volodja's character is also quite touching, especially the rooftop scene with Lilja. The story and the charcterisation both score well, and speak volumes about the talent of Lukas Moodysson. The movies is sad, but it's sad for a reason.
Plus factors: Realistic direction, strong story, good characterisation, good acting.
Minus factors: Poor editing, poor sound mixing.
Overall: It's good, but could have been really better.
My IMDb score: 7/10