The first decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union made way for a free-for-all of massive proportions in Russia. Crime and poverty were predominant in the cityscape and laws seemed to have lost their meaning entirely. But, even when times were harsh and the world seemed full of villains, there was still one hero in the city of Saint Petersburg. His name is Danila, a young guy with the right moral values and an enormous amount of courage. Most of the film is shot in the city of Peter the Great and the scenery is still largely unchanged. If you want to get watch a film with an interesting storyline that depicts post-soviet times, you should definitely give ‘Brat’ (Russian for brother) a try.
Danila has just been demobilised from the army and got sent to Saint Petersburg by his mother to meet with his supposedly successful brother. What she didn’t knew was, that his older brother ‘Viktor’ actually is an assassin for the mob. When Danila arrives in the city, his brother doesn’t seem to be interested to meet with him. Later it becomes clear that these were the first signs of his brother’s treason. Danila soon befriends a homeless guy with the nickname ‘nemets’ (what means German in Russian). In the scene where Danila becomes friends with the German, his courage and understanding of right and wrong soon becomes clear. He disarms a thug with his bare hands, who tries to rob the German. Danila’s heroic status get’s strengthened during the film when his morality is put to the test after his brother dragged him in a nasty underworld full of murder, theft and various other unlawful behaving.
When the movie just went on the screen, it was an instant success. Maybe surprising, when you realize that it was shot in approximately a month with a budget of no more than 20.000 US Dollars. This was mainly possible because a large part of the actors only worked in this movie for a very minimal fee. The strongest characteristic of the film is that the story depicts the problems and mentality during this time perfectly. Nonetheless, the largest factor of the film’s success is probably the fact that Danila symbolizes righteousness and courage during these tough times.