Max (Danila Kozlovskiy) is living the high life in Moscow. A senior bank manager, he is incredibly wealthy with all the material possessions anyone could ever want. He spends his days working in a building he calls ‘global corporate evil’ and his nights partying with countless women and drugs. Handsome, successful and very sure of himself, he believes he has it all until he meets Yulia (Mariya Andreeva), a revolutionary with a completely opposing lifestyle, whose presence forces him to step outside the box and consider what is really important in life.
Based on the novel of the same name by Sergei Minaev, Max looks quite familiar and one has to wonder whether he drew some inspiration from Patrick Bateman, the insane antihero of Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho. We see his repetitive daily routine from coffee in his penthouse apartment to a line of cocaine in the bathroom in his office.
Soulless certainly gives us an insight into the current wave of decadence affecting Russian youths in Moscow, but it also indicates at the growing disdain towards the current government, most namely Vladimir Putin. Yulia screams at Max that ‘everything is leading to a totalitarian regime’ before clashing with riot police and throwing firebombs across barricades. Interestingly enough, the film was partly financed by the Kremlin via the government’s Cinema Fund, with Director Roman Prygunov claiming it merely ‘reflects some realities of today’.
By the end of the film Max has exhausted everything to get to his current state. The significance of hitting rock bottom and literally being thrown in with trash in a garbage dumpster isn’t too hard to grasp. We all have big and small choices to make in the course of our lives and Max is finally at his crossroads.
With strong performances from the two leads, Soulless holds audience attention throughout, however is ultimately predictable and you know its route before the film even really begins.
Soulless is screening as part of the 2013 Russian Resurrection Film Festival. For session times and further info, visit the RRFF website.