The Outskirts (1998)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Political Drama, Rural Drama  |   Release Date - Apr 2, 2004 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - Russia   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Tom Vick

Soaked in darkest of ironies and the deadest of deadpan humor, Pyotr Lutsik's Okraina conflates a century of Soviet politics and cinema into a grim fable of brutality and violence. By emphasizing both the absurdity of the three farmers' murderous quest and the justifiable roots of their anger, Lutsik deliberately prevents the viewer from identifying with anyone in the film. Fueled by a bitter concoction of pessimism and postmodernism, the film, with its black-and-white long takes, at times resembles the work of Bela Tarr, while thematically it is a close relative of Cormac McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian, which follows a similarly ruthless and nihilistic band of murderers across the American southwest. But Lutsik's story is as fundamentally Russian as McCarthy's is American. He packs his film with references to Russian history and movies only to skewer them one by one.