Hitch­cock hints in moody drama

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

haves and have-nots un­easily co-ex­ist in Elena, a grim, som­bre por­trait of life in Putin’s Rus­sia. The ti­tle char­ac­ter is a drab, 60-some­thing for­mer nurse who’s mar­ried to the well-off Vladimir, one of her for­mer pa­tients. They live in a well-ap­pointed Moscow apart­ment and sleep in sep­a­rate rooms. But when the re­tired Vladimir feels the need for sex, Elena dares not refuse. Both spouses have prob­lems with chil­dren from ear­lier mar­riages. Vladimir’s daugh­ter is a he­do­nist who has lit­tle to do with her dad. Elena’s freeload­ing, boozy son and his slovenly fam­ily live in a cramped apart­ment on the fringes of the city, near a nu­clear power plant. Asked to lend money so Elena’s grand­son can bribe his way into col­lege and avoid the army, the old man re­sponds: ‘‘I don’t give a fly­ing f***.’’ Vladimir suf­fers a heart at­tack while swimming at his gym and de­cides it’s time to write a will. It would leave nearly ev­ery­thing to his daugh­ter while pro­vid­ing only a monthly sum to his wife, ef­fec­tively cut­ting off her rel­a­tives. With lit­tle time to waste, Elena comes up with a di­a­bol­i­cal plan wor­thy of Hitch­cock. Nadezhda Mark­ina is splen­did as Elena. An­drei Zvyag­int­sev’s brood­ing di­rec­tion – there is nary a wasted frame – is com­ple­mented by Hitch­cock­ian mu­sic by Philip Glass.

opens to­day

Nadezhda Mark­ina stars in

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