The Rider Named Death | Chicago Reader

The Rider Named Death

Directed by Karen Shakhnarazov (City Zero), this 2004 Russian feature about a terrorist cell in prerevolutionary Moscow has all the makings of a powerful political drama, but somehow the pieces never quite come together. The leader (Andrei Panin), a steely nobleman based on real-life assassin Boris Savinkov, coolly exploits the passions (political and otherwise) of his three young lieutenants as they try repeatedly to kill a young archduke. But the character's only real motivation seems to be upper-class boredom, assuaged by neither the carnage nor his affair with an officer's wife, and his cohorts' philosophical hand-wringing can't fill the dramatic void. But this is still worth seeing for its gilded production and breathless action sequences. In Russian and French with subtitles. 106 min.

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