The Major

2013 [RUSSIAN]

Action / Crime / Drama

Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 69%
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 4014

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July 25, 2021 at 01:15 PM



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Russian 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 39 min
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1.83 GB
Russian 5.1
24 fps
1 hr 39 min
P/S 0 / 7

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Red-125 10 / 10

Brilliant film, but very, very grim

The Russian film Mayor was shown in the U.S. with the title The Major (2013/I). It was written and directed by Yuriy Bykov. It stars Denis Shvedov as Sergey Sobolev, who is a major in the police force. Director Yuriy Bykov plays Pavel Korshunov, called Pasha, another high-ranking police officer.

The film begins with Sergey driving very fast and recklessly to get to the hospital where his wife is in labor. He ignores warning signs and and speeds past a bus stop, where his car hits and kills a young boy. There is no question in anyone's mind--including Sergey's--that he's guilty of what we would call involuntary manslaughter or negligent homicide. If he were almost anything but a police officer, that would be that. However, he's a high-ranking police official, and he has options that others wouldn't have. He calls his fellow officer, Pasha, to help him decide what to do next.

What follows if convoluted, horrifying, and very, very grim. The entire police force is in cesspool of incompetence and corruption. Sergey is involved in the corruption, although he appears to be a competent police officer, and he's well liked by other members of the force.

Irina Nizina plays Irina Gutorova, the young boy's mother, and she does an outstanding job in a difficult role.

For me, the real star of the movie is Pasha, played by director Bykov. Pasha is the ultimate pragmatist. He occasionally appears to be considering the consequences of his terrible actions, but he always ends up ignoring the evil and doing what needs to be done.

It's hard for me to comprehend how an outstanding director can also be an outstanding actor. It's even harder for me to comprehend how the director can direct his own acting in a movie. It's just astonishing, and I watched the film with awe.

We saw this film at the outstanding Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY. (Incidentally, this is an extraordinary venue in which to see movies.) The Major will work well on the small screen, although you may lose some of the sense of a Russian winter in a rural area.

This is a movie definitely worth seeking out and seeing. Just don't expect rainbows and unicorns at the end.

Reviewed by JvH48 7 / 10

Not the usual about police incompetence or corruption in Russia. Well meant actions to cover a colleague causing a fatal accident, gets out of control despite good intentions

I saw this film at the Leiden film festival 2013 (LIFF). It is not the usual story about the incompetent police force in Russia. Neither is corruption the issue here, also a popular topic in Russian films. Nevertheless, the local police does not leave a positive impression after this, and we cannot know whether this applies only to the city at hand. Anyway, intended as social commentary or not, the people working in the police force show their human nature, precisely that being the cause of all the intricacies we witness in this movie. They mean well, but they weave a tangled web, so to speak.

It starts simply with colleagues wanting to prevent a fellow police officer punished for something he is formally accountable for, namely fatally wounding a child while hastily driving to a maternity hospital after a phone call that his wife was about to give birth to a child. But, given his spotless past plus the obvious reasons for his speedy driving, those colleagues are prepared to bend the truth a little bit.

It could have worked. However, higher echelons insist on a water tight cover up, that can never reach a court. That includes "coercing" the mother of the killed child to agree on a false statement. In spite of everyone's good intentions, with each step it gets more and more out-of-control. There is no easy way out of the mess, getting more problematic by the hour.

All in all, in spite of the depressing view on the Russian police force we see in action, the self-inflicted complications make this into an interesting story. We witness the averse side effects of the well-intended cover-up, and the equally well-intended corrective actions making the situation worse and worse. I'd rather not deal with the police force and their superiors within city hall, such as the ones portrayed in this film. It is comforting that it is in a country far away, and we can safely watch the story explode in everyone's faces from our comfy chairs. The ability to see many other countries and different "political" rules of engagement, is a nice feature of a film festival. This film offered some good insights in that respect, and precisely that defines the positive things about this film. Most festival visitors seem to disagree, however, as this film ranked a lowly 37th place (out of 55) for the audience award.

Reviewed by mushoodsheikh1985 8 / 10

Not your typical police corruption movie...

Major Sergey Sobolov gets a phonecall informing him that his wife has gone into a rush driving too fast he accidentally kills a seven year old boy right in front of the child's mother...his natural reaction is to cover up the incident...and from there on chaos ensues...the real problems with the cover up occur when Sobolev's guilty conscience catches up with him...

This isn't your typical police corruption story...there are no one dimensional characters and a lot of moral questions are raised throughout the film...nothing is black and white...during one part of the film the following question is asked: 'would you report your husband if he ran over a child'...and one has to ask whether the police protecting their own is any different from the rest of us...

Denis Svedov as Sergey delivers a powerful performance as does Irina Nizina as Irina, the boys mother...Yuri Bykov who also directs the film is excellent as Pasha...

This film could have presented a simple good vs bad guy scenario and i'm glad it didn't...everyone is all too human but find themselves doing inhumane things in a difficult far would you go to save others and yourself?...and what can you live with?...

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