A couple of weeks ago, I had the treat of seeing a “real” Russian movie, titled Classmates (Odnoklassniki). And when I say “real,” I’m merely quoting what my friends said. The movie, they said, encapsulated everything Russian. The plot, the themes, everything was “very Russian.” Odnoklassniki, in their opinion, was an example of good Russian cinema.
All I have to say is that if this is a “real” Russian movie, then I don’t think I enjoy the Russian cinema all that much.
Odnoklassniki tells the story of three teenagers (two boys, one girl – can someone say predictable love triangle?) who are fresh out of high school, trying to figure out what to do with their lives post-highschool. The film starts off depicting the fearsome trio dancing the night away at Prom and getting pleasantly sloshed on a cruise ship. However, from the get go, we can already see the dread plastered on the heroes’ faces, as they’re getting ready to get catapulted into years of “self-wondering” and uncertainty.
Fast forward four years, and all three are apparently a part of the workforce and seem relatively successful. But alas! Being successful is not enough! Something is missing from their lives, but what that something is, unfortunately, is never revealed in the movie. All that is essentially shown in this maudlin film is their sheer unhappiness. The main characters stumble forward through life, trying to figure out what to do with their lives, and engage in hedonistic pleasures all the while. I would detail the plot more, but, to be honest, I didn’t understand the plot in the slightest. It wasn’t an issue of language barrier — it was an issue of a convoluted, terrible script, with plotholes all over the place. The film likens to a forgettable made-for-TV Disney movie.
However, from what I gathered, the main point of the film was that process of finding out who you are is a trying and difficult one. And I can agree with that. But during that arduous, self-wondering process, the heroes of the film crumple faster than a teenage boy’s face after getting turned down for prom. In the face of adversity, the main characters attempt suicide, do drugs, and jet set off to some tropical country. What kind of message is that? If anything, the film points to a disturbing trend rising among young people (and, in my opinion, young America) — complete and utter apathy. Instead of getting off our asses and doing something, let’s just drink, spend our parent’s money, and complain about how difficult life is.
(Side note: Louis, the guy on the right was the one that was a dead ringer for you.)