Thursday, May 3, 2012
Review of HIPSTERS (2012)
- Not Rated but would be rated R for sex scenes and nudity.
- Starring Anton Shagin, Oksana Akinshina, Evgeniya Brik, Maksim Matveev
- Written by Yuriy Korotkov and Valeriy Todorovskiy
- Directed by Valeriy Todorovskiy
- Running time: 2hrs 7min
I love musicals! So when I heard this was one, I looked forward to popping in my screener. This Russian film takes place in Moscow in the 1950's. There is a sort of war going on between the straight laced communist kids and the rebelling hipsters who listen and dance to jazz and wear colorful clothes while sporting crazy hairdos.
Mels is one of the "squares". He belongs to the group of communist kids that raid hipster parties to hold down some of the kids to cut their hair and clothes up. He chases after a girl named Polly, but she gets away. There was something about her that intrigues him so he changes his ways to find out more about her (yes the transformation happens this quickly in the movie too). Getting a new haircut and clothes, Mels changes his name to Mel and becomes a hipster as he learns to dance and play the sax. He soon becomes involved with Polly. But he must also battle the group of squares he once belonged to including former friend Katya. There are also a few subplots including one about a guy named Fred who must conform to society in order to study in America.
The best thing about this movie is it's ambition. Director Todorovskiy goes all the way when it comes to visual style, which clearly seems to have some influence by Baz Luhrmann. The musical numbers look great as the cameras whiz around the actors while they dance with manic energy. However, the music isn't all that great. There's something off with the sound mix that makes it seem more like a music video than a musical. And the voices don't seem to be that of the actors (which may or may not be true).
The other problem is that I didn't really like the characters, especially Mel. I didn't buy that he switched over so fast. In fact, Shagin's performance wasn't believable at all. He seemed far too uptight and uncomfortable, even when he was a full on hipster letting loose. He was wrong for the role. Also, despite the movie's energy, it's a bit of a downer. And the explicit sex scenes seemed so out of place in a movie that was going for old fashioned nostalgia. Eventually, the movie writes itself into a corner of depression and despair, that the happy ending seems so forced and tacked on.
I really wanted to enjoy this cause I really liked what the movie was going for and the numbers are often fun. But there were too many things that bothered me to enjoy it.
** (out of ****)