Ah, a good old fashioned Russian whodunit gangster drama. I mean..whaaaat?
#1436: Tycoon: A New Russian
May 6, 2008 by Caitlin
Plato is an upwardly mobile kinda guy in the “new Russia” – that is, a Russia with capitalism introduced, a Russia that is trying desperately to shed the deeply ingrained Soviet ways. Plato’s a smart dude, so he’s ahead of the curve, and when Gorbachev rises to power, he sees his opportunity. Banding together with some friends, he begins to piece together one of the most enormous Russian capitalist enterprises of his day, while trampling on the little people who helped him get there. And then one depressingly dank day, Plato’s car is hit with anti-tank missiles (yes, anti-tank missiles) and the man worth $5 billion is claimed to have been assassinated.
Tycoon’s nothing essentially new. The story’s told from an FSB officer investigating the case to figure out who killed Plato starting the day of his murder. He begins to interview friends and loved ones of the man in question and starts to piece together a measure of the man that Plato was through his interviews. The viewer’s treated to flashbacks of Plato’s ascension to power over the years and the eventual crash-and-burn that follows.
I’d kind of liken Tycoon to an odd Russian mix of a whodunit meets elements of Citizen Kane. Supposedly based on a true story, Tycoon’s main character shares a lot of similarities to Charles Foster Kane, but the story’s essentially the basic “whodunit” of the murder of Plato.
It’s a smartly done film, but definitely not for everyone. It wore on me after a little while; I had to pause it, take a break and come back to it in order to finish it. It’s interesting to watch as a film from another country, mainly because it doesn’t delve into anything involving social, political or economic issues as far as the times go and strictly deals with Plato’s story. It’s strength is there, and while it’s far from being unique or original, the setting and the time in which it’s placed lends it something to let it stand apart from many other films that have tried as hard but failed.