The fact that the distributor of Johnny O’Reilly’s Moscow Never Sleeps is calling it a “Russian Crash” is a major tease, since, given the preponderance of dashboard cams and general mayhem on the road, one might expect they’re referring to David Cronenberg’s Crash. While a Russian adaptation of the Ballard novel actually sounds pretty great, the Crash in question is unfortunately the 2004 Paul Figgis film most remembered as an example of how frequently the Academy bungles the Best Picture category.
Moscow Never Sleeps follows several characters over the course of the annual Moscow City Day celebration, including dying TV actor Valery (Yuri Stoyanov), businessman Anton (Alexey Serebryakov), his pop-star wife Katya (Evgenia Brik) and her lover Ilya (Oleg Dolin), who also happens to be Valery’s son. There’s also aspiring rapper Arto (Rustam Akhmadeyev) who functionally kidnaps Valery before he and his bros turn their douchey attention to squabbling stepsisters Kseniya (Lubov Aksenova) and Lera (Anastasia Shalonko), and so on. The picture resembles the recent 100 Streets, though it could have used some of that film’s unabashed soapiness — and while Moscow Never Sleeps probably wasn’t the film’s working title, it’s worth noting that some Muscovites go to sleep during the course of the film, and not just the several who get roofied. Oh, Russia.
Moscow Never Sleeps
Opens Friday at the 4-Star Theatre.