out of Five
Running time: 128
Despite a string of impressive performances, there’s little spark to this Russian-language slow burner and as a result, it can be rather dull and effortful to watch at times.
What’s it all about?
Directed and adapted for the screen by Sergei Loznitsa, In the Fog is a Russian war drama, based on the novel by Vasil Bykov. Set in Belarus on the western frontiers of the USSR in 1942, when it was under German occupation, the film stars Vladimir Svirksi as Sushenya, a rail worker, who is wrongly arrested for derailing a train near his home village. When the German officer gives him a chance to live, rumours of Sushenya’s treason soon spread around the town and in a bid to get revenge, two partisans capture him. However, whilst leading Sushenya through the forest, the partisans are ambushed and Sushenya is left alone with his wounded enemies, leaving him in a tricky dilemma involving morality and justice.
The entire cast of In the Fog each deliver a worthy performance and Vladimir Svirski, in particular, is highly commendable for his role as the decent and honourable leading character, Sushenya. Occasionally, the dialogue between characters finds the perfect blend between subtlety and punchy effectiveness and the film’s snow-drenched landscape setting can be beautiful to look at, thanks to the fine cinematography by Oleg Mutu.
Often the case in the war genre, this slow burner of a film can at times be a rather dull and dissatisfying watch and it certainly lacks the drama and exhilaration to justify its length of 128 minutes. Exciting moments are rare during In The Fog and the film lacks that essential spark and magnetism to make it a truly engrossing and engaging watch. A pick-up in pace would also definitely be appreciated, as the film feels much longer than it actually is. This isn’t helped by its tendency to have shots linger for far longer than necessary, which eventually becomes extremely irritating in the viewing seat.
If you’re after some spine-tingling thrills or a slice of powerful drama this weekend, you’re best looking elsewhere as In The Fog (V Tumane) is a dull and dismal struggle with an unsatisfactory pay off. Even the strong performances can’t save this disappointing film.
In The Fog (V Tumane) (12A)