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Three days in Odessa
[DVD]

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The knotted story of Three Days in Odessa is not worth untangling. The period drama set in post-war Odessa features a jovially jumbled clutter of gory exploits and seaside romance, double-dealing officers and lethal vixens, sun-drenched debauchery and wartime sorrows. The film is the continuation of the television miniseries Alexandrovsky Garden, deploying many of the same characters and narrative threads. The overlapping plots clash with the movie format, however, as story lines arise, get sidetracked, and fade without a trace. Still, the basic themes stay in the foreground, and the tangled narrative fashions a heady backdrop to a crackdown on crime-ridden Odessa.
Fresh from beating back Hitlers armies, Soviet authorities set out to conquer their own wayward citizens with the same means. Gangsters in Odessa enjoy an uncomplicated cohabitation with the local police. Agents are dispatched from Moscow by war hero Georgy Zhukov, however, with orders to oversee a three-day military operation and wipe out the felons along with their kin due process be damned.
Based in part on true events, the movie is directed by Alexei Pimanov, an experienced documentary film maker and a host of a television show about present-day crime tales. He has described the production as a detective melodrama with a place for love. What drew his attention to the story, Pimanov has admitted, were the facts he dug up about the plan to bring to Odessa squads of alluring policewomen to serve as live baits for the local crime lords the rest of the script developed from that premise.
Perhaps an Odessa-style La Femme Nikita would have led to more of a breakthrough. As it is, the fire-breathing sirens make their appearance but are quickly sidelined; similarly, a pursuit of a Romanian wartime police archive, the grounds for the brutal crackdown, becomes an afterthought. The love for which Pimanov has found a place amidst combat also fits uneasily into the film, providing the kind of neat, hopeful postscript that more than hints at a sequel.
Date Added: 04/13/2013 by Olga
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