Montag, 15. Dezember 2014

Класс коррекции (Corrections Class)

Russian writer/director Ivan I. Tverdovsky's "Класс коррекции (Corrections Class)" can't quite decide if it wants to be a portrait of the tricky, vicious peer dynamics in middle school, an indictment of the failing special needs education in modern Russia, or just a coming-of-age story with some tender puppy love, and ends up narratively diffuse. Starting off hopefully and closing on a shockingly ugly note, the movie takes numerous tonal detours in between, underlining the absence of a consistent, purposeful plan.

Contextual indiscipline aside, the filmmaker does hit all the different tones with impressive accuracy. Whether the merriment of the myopathic heroine on finding other physically impaired friends as she joins the so-called "corrections class" or the bashful first experience of attraction by two young persons coming into their own, sentiments and atmosphere are captured by curt but sure cinematic strokes. A couple of scenes involving a grumpy cleaning lady are of little significance in the scheme of things but, with the support of some brazen writing and an acute sense of situation comedy, prove wonderfully funny in their own right.

Technical aspects are accomplished, especially the agile cinematography and the tight editing. The camera swooshes and swirls with a compelling, airy lightness while presenting the focus of its attention in well-lit, sharp detail. The cuts are made with decisiveness and a strong attitude, so that even when the final result turns out not as profoundly meaningful as one'd like, the transitions themselves afford many surprises.

The film deals its most savage cards near the end when, somewhat inexplicably, everyone gangs up on the innocent protagonist. That the brutality of the attacks doesn't leave as devastating an effect or that the inconclusiveness of the last shot feels more lazy than inspired confirm the weakness of the storytelling that came before. But the confidence of the director's hand shows promise, as does his interest in tackling a distinctly little-explored subject matter.

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