The Tribe

"Excellent"

The Tribe Review


Boldly full-on about sex and violence, as well as its underlying themes, this Ukrainian drama refuses to let the audience off lightly, challenging viewers to take an uncomfortable journey deep into the mind of a frustrated teen. It's also a film without a single word of spoken dialogue, as all of the characters are deaf and communicate in sign language without subtitles. Even so, there isn't a moment when we don't know what they're feeling. Although sometimes we wish we didn't.

The story opens as Sergey (Grigoriy Fesenko) arrives at a Kiev boarding school for the deaf and is immediately inducted into a student gang of thugs run by the cocky King (Alexander Osadchiy). After class, Sergey is sent out as a petty thief and eventually gets a promotion to accompany the student prostitutes Anya and Sveta (Yana Novikova and Rosa Babiy) to the local truck stop with their pimp, the school's woodworking teacher (Alexander Panivan). But problems start when Sergey begins to fall for Anya, saving up his spare cash so he can buy some time with her. And this crosses a line, so King decides that he needs to be punished.

Writer-director Miroslav Slaboshpitsky stages each scene as a single extended take, often elaborately choreographed to add an astonishing authenticity to the all-round grubbiness of the settings. Yes, this school has clearly seen better days, as everything seems to be in decay, which probably has something to do with the way the kids have gone so far off the rails. Since the sequences play without edits, they have a stunning kick to them, especially in some of the more bravura scenes like a nighttime assault, a back-alley abortion and a blackly comical accidental death. Indeed, much of the film has a wry, matter-of-fact tone to it, as if to say that life is tough, just get on with it.

All of the actors are so natural that they never seem to be performing. Their thoughts and conversations are vivid even without spoken dialogue, as the young actors add fiery emotions to every exchange. At the centre, Fesenko fearlessly reveals Sergey's yearning tenacity in both the startlingly tender scenes with Novikova and also in the much, much darker moments with the other boys. Where all of this goes is impossible to predict, but it's fairly obvious from the early scenes that the film isn't going to end with a whimper. No, this is heading to a deeply shocking conclusion that has a lot to say about society and marks Slaboshpitsky as a filmmaker to watch.


The Tribe Trailer

 



The Tribe

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 132 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th May 2015

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Miroslav Slaboshpitsky

Producer: Valentyn Vasyanovych, Iya Myslytska, Elena Slaboshpytskaya

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