The Austin Chronicle

The Road Movie

Not rated, 67 min. Directed by Dmitrii Kalashnikov.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Feb. 23, 2018

Dashboard cameras are uniquely ubiquitous within the Russian Federation and surrounding countries, a fact which is both the subject of this film and which also raises the question, “Hey, America, don’t you care what goes on in front of you?" Or in Cyrillic, obviously the true language of automotive chaos, moose carnage, and future Eli Roth films, "Эй, Америка, тебе все равно, что происходит перед тобой?"

Yeah, no, seriously? Russia has the gold standard of recorded automotive mayhem and hilarity (often both at once). There are some jaw-dropping moments involving asteroids (or maybe doomed airliners?) as well as flat-out road rage maniacs climbing on top of windshields and going berserk. Almost everyone encountered by these random lenses could well play an extra in a Eurosleaze offshoot, but the fact that Russians appear to have dash-cams as standard equipment in their four- and two-wheel rides is as foreign and fascinating as anything President Donald Trump could come up with.

If you're game to sit through the short, sharp shocks of Kalashnikov's compilation of hairy, scary, usually ice-bound incidents on Russian roads, be proud of America's fading-yet-vastly-superior infrastructure. Ours might not be perfect by a long shot, but the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Highway System, and all the snowplows and sand trucks that ensure drivers' safety, make the highways and byways of the Great Bear seem muzzled, mad, and occasionally comic by comparison. Yes, Russian citizens arrive from 85 kph to 0 kph in record time, and the short, YouTube-type moments that Kalashnikov has chosen to represent play more like Vice meets Johnny Knoxville behind the former Iron Curtain (which is now apparently made up of totaled automobiles) for a relatively fun – if scattershot – commentary on how Russia's new middle class meets the older, tractor-driving traditionalists who refuse to give way to newcomers no matter where they're from.

Copyright © 2022 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.