Target (2011, Alexander Zeldovich)

“There’s nothing in the world that can’t be quantified.”

Hyped as a mindblowing modern Russian sci-fi story, but I found it overall disappointing – sleek and mildly weird, but not terribly interesting.

Boring mega-rich Viktor and youth-obsessed wife Zoya (Justine Waddell, lead nurse in The Fall) team up with her brother, totally awful TV announcer Mitya (or Dmitri?), and a jockey for some reason, flying to a tiny town around an abandoned science experiment in the middle of nowhere, where Dmitri falls for fellow tourist Anna. The five spend the night inside a giant cosmic-ray accumulator, and supposedly now they will never age.

“In nature there are no ethically neutral substances.” Viktor is obsessed with these blue-glowy glasses that can detect the amount of good and evil in anything. His wife Zoya runs off and has an affair with the jockey, who has killed some guys at work and needs to escape. Dmitri/Mitya starts making an on-air mockery of his job. A girl named Taya has come back with them from the Target, is going to meet her boyfriend in front of the ballet. Their affair had become too intense so they agreed to separate for 30 years. Same thing is happening to Dmitri and Anna, so they make the same agreement.

Dmitri and Anna:

Zoya and youth-mask:

At the end, Viktor is killed, then Zoya commits suicide as the jockey leaves town in hiding. It’s a pretty tightly paced movie for being three hours long, but the eternal youth aspect, the good/evil thing and the relationship weirdness never come together, so I didn’t see its point. I don’t mean to be obvious and compare every Russian movie to Tarkovsky, but you’ve got a movie about a few travelers who visit a mysterious, underpopulated area and are exposed to radiation that changes their physiology and behavior, which sounds like Stalker meets Solaris – just much less subtle and mysterious.