Elena movie poster

Widowed Elena and her men — an indolent son and a gamy gamer of a grandson — look to her wealthy second husband to finance the younger boy’s way out of the army. From the well-appointed Moscow apartment in which she and her husband reside to her son’s shabby flat down the road of a nuclear power plant, Elena lives her life on both ends of Russian society. She becomes jealous when her husband’s sudden heart attack reunites him with his snappy, estranged daughter. (“Shit’s gotta’ be tasty. Millions of flies can’t be wrong.”) His refusal to help her family while constantly providing handouts to his own hedonistic child set the wheels in motion for a taut domestic drama in the Chabrol vein. Working with impeccable cinematographer Mikhail Krichman, this engrossing, resolutely-paced thriller from Andrei Zvyagintsev (The Return, The Banishment) once again shows the director to be a master of withholding information. With Nadezhda Markina, Andrey Smirnov, Aleksey Rozin, and Elena Lyadova. 2012.

Scott Marks

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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