In the wilds of Kazakhstan, circa the early '90s, there isn't exactly a lot to do and not much wealth to go around - even the head gangsters seem a pretty threadbare lot. In terms of excitement, the only going concern in these wide-open steppes is bare-knuckle boxing; you can forget about jobs. The same torpor and lack of opportunity that afflicts the Kazakhs depicted in the film Schizo also afflicts the film itself, a short piece of work that tells a minor story with little verve or insight.

The title comes from the nickname given to the protagonist, Mustafa (Olzhas Nusuppaev), a 15-year-old with unspecific mental problems whose mother isn't quite sure what to do with him. In lieu of any guiding purpose in life, Mustafa hooks up with his mother's boyfriend, Sakura (Eduard Tabyshev), a cigarette-smoking, sunglasses-wearing, motorcycle-riding shyster who helps organize the aforementioned boxing matches and uses Mustafa to round up new fighters. It's a living, of sorts, and Mustafa doesn't have a lot else to do but wander the countryside with a blank look on his face (he does that a lot). When the boxing turns out to be a little more of a blood sport than one would have imagined, Mustafa at first has misgivings, but soon gets himself in deeper than would be recommended for a schizophrenic with disassociative tendencies.

Continue reading: Schizo Review