Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Kontroll (2003)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

It’s funny how a lot of my favorite movies and books are things that defy categorization. Kontroll is a movie that I found on NetFlix. I don’t know if my brother saw it first or if I recommended it to him, but it’s hard to put in one category. I could say it’s a drama, but that is vague enough to refer to anything. I could say it’s a comedy, but the humor is very dark. I could say it’s a romance, but it’s not really.

The movie is about two teams of ticket inspectors on the Budapest subway. One team is sort of like the chosen child, getting special uniforms and having the respect of the passengers. The other team is a group of guys that aren‘t very good at their jobs. They’re sort of misfits. Many of their passengers are rude and refuse to pay fare and even make fun of them. (This reminds me of working in retail.)

The main character is Bulscu, the leader of the ‘other’ team. He gets along well with his team, but not so much with the rival crew or his superiors. He seems to be homeless and his sanity is even brought into question. We get the impression that he had some other job, but we don’t know much about it.

The movie doesn’t really seem to have any direction. It shows mostly the interaction between the two teems and how they interact with passengers. One subplot involves a man pushing people in front of trains. Another involves a man that Bulscu has been chasing for a while. There’s also some possibly romantic interaction between Bulscu and a woman that’s fond of costumes.

It’s sort of like Clerks in the sense that it seems to be just a presentation of what is. I seriously think that the writer, Nimrod Antal, had a job dealing with the general public. While my job in retail isn’t usually that bad, we do get some rude, irritating and downright nasty people. (For the record, most of the customers we get are pretty good.)

There’s a low-budget feel to the movie, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. What makes the movie interesting is that it takes place entirely in the Budapest Subway, and I do mean entirely. You don’t get to see anything above ground. At first, I was going to write it off as some plot device, but it really works. It adds meaning to the story.

I would definitely recommend this movie. Yes, it’s a bit random, but that’s what makes it fun. Don’t think that means that you can watch this movie when you’re ready to pass out. You do have to pay attention. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed. 

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