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Kontroll (2004)

Cast: Balazs Farkas, Balazs Farkas, Bela Gerner, more...
Director: Nimród Antal, Nimród Antal
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Rating:
Studio: Velocity Home Entertainment
Genre: Comedies, Drama, Foreign, Black Comedy, Eastern Europe
Running Time: 106 min.
Languages: Hungarian
Subtitles: English
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Synopsis
For his feature debut, L.A.-born Hungary resident Nimród Antal made Kontroll, a farcical look at the Budapest subway system, about the crazy ticket agents who earn their living there and the hostile citizens they deal with on a daily basis. At the center of it all is Bulcsú (Sándor Csányi), a quiet fellow who leads his ragtag crew that includes the Professor (Zoltán Mucsi), the nagging, burned-out elder of the group; Muki (Csaba Pindroch), the goofy narcoleptic; the disheveled Lecsó (Sándor Badár); and the naďvely gung-ho new guy, Tibi (Zsolt Nagy). Bulcsú and his guys can't compete with the likes of Gonzó's (Balázs Mihályfi) top-notch crew, who gets all the perks and the best assignments. They're more concerned with just getting through each day in one piece, and it isn't always easy. In addition to the annoyed riders who bicker over having to show their tickets and passes, there's Bootsie (Bence Mátyássy), an energetic young man who plays pranks on the agents and runs very fast, and Sofie (Eszter Balla), the odd young woman who shows up on the train in a bear costume everyday and never pays her fare. Worst of all, there's a dark and mysterious figure who's been pushing unsuspecting riders in front of oncoming trains with predictably grisly results. His superiors begin to suspect Bulcsú when they realize he's been living in the system, spending his nights sleeping on the platforms, and never venturing above ground. Kontroll won Le Prix de la Jeunesse at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. It was also selected by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art for inclusion in the 2005 edition of New Directors/New Films. ~ Josh Ralske, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Lacks certain "Kontroll" by GGoodsell January 10, 2006 - 7:06 AM PST
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1 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Set entirely within the hermetic sealed world of the Hungarian subway system, KONTROLL follows the dreary lives of a group of ticket checkers going about their daily tasks. Wearing no uniforms (only reserved for the most elite group), the crew make their rounds and are served heaping amounts of abuse by the tube's passengers. The hero spends all his waking hours underground, as well as sleeping on the deserted platforms at night. In spite of the subject matter, the film is frequently beautiful, and ends on a positive note. HOWEVER -- It must be stressed that a major subplot is left unresolved, and could frustrate some viewers.

Orpheus Descends, Makes Tracks by Bean October 21, 2005 - 6:19 PM PDT
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4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
"Kontroll" has all the elements of a likeable film. It's got hip, off-beat, gritty characters, murder & mayhem, humor, stylishness-- and it all takes place in a fabulous backdrop-- the subterranean world of the Budapest subway. Unfortunately, the film is so uneven that the moments that do grab come off as separate vignettes that don't always serve the larger plot of the main story, which seems to be about Bulcsú, the defacto head of his downtrodden subway crew. As a result, you may leave the film with a lot of unanswered questions. It's like "Warriors" meets "Trainspotting", without the heroin. Overall, fun to watch, and very likeable, but don't expect to be hit by a freight train.

A director who's definitely in control by talltale September 4, 2005 - 9:44 AM PDT
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4 out of 5 members found this review helpful
KONTROLL is a movie absolutely in control of its place and personages: workers in Hungary's subway system, which comes across as a kind of underground hell from which these people--and us viewers--have no escape. The "look" of this movie is terrific, and so are the performers. While the plot is only so-so, that clearly was not foremost on the mind of director/co-writer Nimrod Antal--who wants to create a world (dark, comedic, surreal) apart from the surface one we know. He succeeds spectacularly well.

There may be a few too many cutesy situations between the Kontroll-ers and their fares, but Antal more than makes up for this through his creation of a sense of utter resignation that hovers over the whole system. Clearly, Hungarians have not yet thrown off their decades of being held down and having to cheat for every bit extra. Britain has a somewhat similar "honor system" in its subways but, I wager, not nearly so many cheats. The movie's bizarre "intro," in which a narrator begs our understanding that this film in no way reflects the real Budapest subway system or its ticket-inspectors, is a hoot. No, sir: it's probably even worse.




GreenCine Member Rating
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(Average 7.13)
95 Votes
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Cannes Film Festival & More - 2004
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Official Selection, Certain Regards... and more. Here is a bit more information on the films screened at the Cannes. I have attempted to list all the films that were considered for an award as well as any special screenings.
kraigpdx
morpheme's favorites
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in my opinion
morpheme

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