September 2nd: Nimród Antal: Part 2


183. Kontroll (Nimród Antal, 2003)

Ah, sorry for the delay but I’ve been more than reasonably busy at the moment. I haven’t actually watched a film since little Seth turned up so I’ll just be catching up on a few reviews that I hadn’t got round to writing when the little chap dropped in.

Anyway, back to the second part of the Nimród Antal round-up. The American born Antal actually returned to his ancestral roots for his debut feature; a blackly comic trip through the Budapest underground. Bulcsú is part of a ragtag crew of ticket inspectors, practically living in the underground network, dealing with the weird and wonderful customers, fighting football gangs, competing with the rival crews, searching for the killer that is stalking the platforms and looking for something, anything to give his life some meaning.

It’s easy to see why this film gave Antal a doorway into Hollywood; it’s witty, lean and very good-looking (like me). The whole film takes place indoors, in the underground network, but it looks exceptional as the dark palette and stark lighting create a kind of timeless metropolitan gothic look. The script crackles with the kind of light-hearted banter a gang of friends creates, something that happens all too rarely in the multi-doctored scripts of bigger budget products. This is believably paired with Bulcsú’s personal journey, one that gives greater scope for some of the more fantastic sequences in the film. Antal shows too that he has the ability to film decent action sequences. There’s a good brisk feel to the whole film but he manages to inject pace and excitement into something as simple as a foot chase, hopefully he can retain this ability as his budgets rise.

I liked Kontroll, I liked it a lot and I’d recommend it to anyone. I’m pretty certain it’s the first Hungarian film I’ve ever seen and I’d heartily recommend that if you see it on the Film4 listings then you make an effort to record and watch it. You won’t be disappointed.

Unfortunately my brain is a little fried and I don’t really think I’ve managed to communicate why Kontroll is such a good film, I’ve not done it justice, so I’ve made a one-off decision to stick the trailer on for you to get a little taste…