The Inhabited Island
|The Inhabited Island|
English theatrical poster
|Directed by||Fyodor Bondarchuk|
|Produced by||Alexander Rodnyansky
|Written by||Marina and Sergey Dyachenko (screenplay)
Strugatsky brothers (novel)
|Narrated by||Gennady Vengerov|
|Music by||Yuriy Poteenko (original music)
Pavel Doreuli (sound effects)
|Editing by||Igor Litoninsky|
|Distributed by||Art Pictures Studio
|Running time||115 minutes (part I)
100 minutes (part II)
|Budget||$36,6 million (both parts)|
The Inhabited Island (Russian: Обитаемый остров) is a science fiction film directed by Fyodor Bondarchuk based on a 1971 novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky of the same Russian name, published in English as Prisoners of Power. It is a dystopian story set on post-apocalyptic planet Saraksh, ruled by totalitarian regime that brainwashes its citizens. Maksim, a space explorer from Earth, crash lands on Saraksh and becomes involved in the planet's everboiling politics. Due to the length of the story, the film was split in two parts: the first premiered on December 18, 2008 and the second on April 23, 2009.
The film was met with mixed reviews. It was praised for visual style, social commentary and being faithful to the original novel, but also criticized for its direction and casting. By the time of its production, The Inhabited island had the second highest budget in the history of Russian cinema (it remains the most expensive Russian science fiction film ever); and despite huge box office earnings and DVD sells the movie only repaid its own budget.
In the year 2157, the main character, Maxim Kammerer (Stepanov), is a space pilot of the Free Search Group. His spaceship is damaged and he crash lands on an unknown planet. The ship detonates just after Maxim crawls out of it, and now he's stuck there "like Robinson on an uninhabited island" (hence the title). Maxim is discovered and made captive by Zef (Garmash), a native of the planet. Guy Gaal (Fyodorov), a corporal of the Guards, is assigned to escort him to the capital.
Maxim learns that the name of the planet is Saraksh, and the country where he landed is governed by a militaristic dictatorship of the Unknown Fathers. He is being escorted to Strider (Strannik in Russian), a powerful figure in the government; but one of Strannik's men, Funk, suffers from a surge of epilepsy; Maxim is able to escape. He encounters Rada Gaal (Snigir), a sister of Guy, and falls in love with her. Maxim stays in the city with Guy and Rada and becomes a candidate for service in the Guards. He learns about the ongoing war and tries to determine who exactly the enemy is and what they are fighting for. After Maxim refuses to execute a group of captured "degenerates", he is shot by his superior and left to die.
Through accelerated healing, Maxim recovers and joins a group of degenerate rebels. During his time with the degenerates, Maxim learns the true nature of the towers erected across the country. Contrary to state propaganda, the towers actually function as mind control devices, sending a special kind of radiation that ensures the citizens' loyalty to the state. Once at 10 am and again at 10 pm, the majority of the country's population experiences a patriotic frenzy but the remainder suffers from intense pain and convulsions. "Degenerates", as well as Unknown Fathers themselves, are the minority which do not submit to the towers' radiation, though they suffer from excruciating pain at the time of radiation spikes. Maxim comes to the conclusion the degenerates do not actually seek to dismantle the system of towers, but plan to overthrow the Unknown Fathers and use the mind control system for their own designs. Both the degenerates and the Fathers seek to recruit Maxim, since he is immune both to mind control and pain, but he decides that neither the degenerates nor the Fathers deserve his allegiance.
After fighting alongside the degenerates in the attack on a tower, Maxim is again captured by the military and sentenced to a prison labor camp tasked with cleaning the wilderness of automated defense systems left abandoned by decades of war. On a mission, Maxim manages to capture a mechanized tank. He drives the tank away from detention zone across the minefield, picks up Guy, and heads south to the neighbouring nations.
The second part is named Skhvatka (Skirmish); it starts with a brief description of the first part plot.
Maxim tries to reveal the true purpose of the towers to Guy, who does not believe at first but is convinced when his enthusiasm fades as they get farther from the coverage area of the towers. They arrive in the once-prosperous part of the empire, now turned a God-forsaken desert in an aftermath of an atomic war. They meet the mutant people who are suffering from radiation poisoning and Maxim tries to convince them to start a rebellion, but they are too weak both physically and morally. Maxim decides to join the Islands Empire to fight the Unknown Fathers. A leader of the mutants presents him with a flying bomber-airship that survived the war.
As Guy and Maxim fly the airship, Guy falls victim to the tower radiation and shows his fanatical allegiance, this time to Maxim personally. Maxim collides the airship into the Tower and destroys it. After crash-landing in the sea, Maxim and Guy successfully reach ground and find an abandoned Imperial White Submarine. They find evidence of mass killings in the Islands Empire and it is now clear that joining the Islands Empire is impossible. Meanwhile, the State prosecutor makes plans to find Maxim and use his outstanding abilities for his profit. He talks with Rada but after she declines his request to cooperate, puts her in jail. Strider helps Rada escape the prosecutor since he also wants to find Maxim.
Maxim and Guy are arrested and sent to front along with fellow prisoners, as Fatherland declared war on neighbouring country of Khonti. Guy perishes in the battle, while Funk finds Maxim and convinces him to join Strider's quarters. Fatherland is defeated, and the State prosecutor, who was an active supporter of the war, realizes that the Unknown Fathers will assassinate him for failure. He contacts Maxim and reveals the location of the Tower Control Center, urging him to use it for a coup d'etait. Instead, Maxim just destroys the Center.
As he exits the Center, he's confronted by angry Strider. He chases Maxim, beats him and reveals that he is from Earth as well. His real name is Rudolf Sikorski and he works for the Galactic Security Bureau. Sikorski blames Maxim with spoiling a thoroughly prepared plan to save this planet. He suggests Maxim to return home to Earth. Maxim refuses, and stays on Saraksh. They finally make peace with Strider, and the final sequence shows rebels overthrowing the Unknown Fathers.
- Vasiliy Stepanov as Maxim Kammerer (voiced by Maksim Matveev)
- Yuliya Snigir as Rada Gaal
- Pyotr Fyodorov as Guy Gaal
- Aleksei Serebryakov as Strider
- Fyodor Bondarchuk as State prosecutor aka Smart
- Sergey Garmash as Zef
- Gosha Kutsenko as Veper
- Andrei Merzlikin as Fank
- Mikhail Yevlanov as Rittmeister Chachu
- Anna Mikhalkova as Ordi Tader
- Sergei Barkovsky as Nolle Renadu
- Aleksey Gorbunov as Shurin
- Maksim Sukhanov as Dad
- Yuriy Tsurilo as the general
- Aleksandr Feklistov as Dever
- Kirill Pirogov as Svyokor
- Yevgeni Sidikhin as Teste
- Sergei Mazayev as Voldyr
- Leonid Gromov as Gramenau
- Vasili Savinov as Lesnik
- Vyacheslav Razbegayev as Krysolov
- Dimash Akhimov as Behemoth
- Ignat Akrachkov as prosecutor's referent
- Anton Eskin as Oreshnik
The production was filmed in Crimea, Ukraine, with photography lasting for 10 months (February 14 – December 7, 2007). The film had a total budget of about $36.6 million, including $10 million for the film's promotion and $1 million of State donations. It is the biggest budget Russian film ever made in the Russian Federation weighing in at $36.6 million and beating fellow Russian Blockbuster The Admiral which weighed in at $20 million.
The Inhabited Island was met with mixed reviews. According to Russian review aggregator Kritikanstvo.ru, both parts hold an approximate approval rating around 6 of 10, based on 20 reviews. Many critics praised the film for being surprisingly faithful to the novel. Some praised the film's visual effects and action, while others criticized the work of director and editor. Mir Fantastiki review called the film a "chaotic mash of visual, dramatical and musical components, each of which separately has quite high quality". "The movie scatters into a mosaic of spectacular images, that don't comprise the consistent image of the world", agrees Total DVD
The film was a relative commercial failure. Despite grossing around $30 million from two parts summarily and ranking among the top-grossing films of Russia's modern cinema, it didn't repay its budget of $36 mln. The movie was released on DVD very shortly after it exited theatres, in the hope of covering the debt.
Boris Strugatsky, the only one of the book's co-authors who lived to see the film, said the film is a "directors' success", noting its faithfulness to the novel. He praised the work of Serebryakov (Strannik), Bondarchuk (Umnik) and Garmash (Zef), but expressed disappointment over the work of Kutsenko (Vepr'), Mikhalkova (Ordi Tader) and Merzlikin (Funk). He noted Stepanov as one of the biggest success of the film, saying that "Maxim Kammerer is exactly as we imagined him".
- Quietearth (2007-08-16). "Island New Scifi movie: Inhabited Island". Quietearth.us. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
- Критиканство: Обитаемый остров
- Критиканство: Обитаемый остров. Схватка
- Mir Fantastiki Обитаемый остров. Фильм первый
- Total DVD Обитаемый остров. Фильм первый
- 103 мин. / 01:43 (2009-04-17). "Обитаемый остров: Схватка". Kinopoisk.ru. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
- 115 мин. / 01:55. "Обитаемый остров". Kinopoisk.ru. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
- "Boris Strugatskiy is glad about the film, based on The Inhabited Island novel" (in Russian). RIA Novosti. 2008-12-26. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
- Vishnevskiy, Boris (2009-01-22). "Strugatskiy saw The Inhabited Island. And praised Bondarchuk and his band". Novaya Gazeta (in Russian). Retrieved 2009-02-22.
- Livsi, Elena (2009-01-12). "Boris Strugatskiy replied on communists' statement". Komsomolskaya Pravda (in Russian). Retrieved 2009-02-22.
- Official website
- Secondary official website
- The Inhabited Island at allmovie
- Obitaemyy ostrov (2008) at the Internet Movie Database
- Obitaemyy ostrov: Skhvatka (2009) at the Internet Movie Database
- Fyodor Bondarchuk Directing New Film – The Inhabited Island, Charles Ganske