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The Thief
The Thief
Actors: Vladimir Mashkov, Ekaterina Rednikova, Misha Philipchuk, Amaliya Mordvinova, Lidiya Savchenko
Director: Pavel Chukhraj
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
R     1999     1hr 36min

If you were a widow with a young boy in 1952 Russia, you might take up with a handsome army captain you met on a train. You both would need protection from this post-war world in disarray. And what more solid figure than...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Vladimir Mashkov, Ekaterina Rednikova, Misha Philipchuk, Amaliya Mordvinova, Lidiya Savchenko
Director: Pavel Chukhraj
Creators: Vladimir Klimov, Pavel Chukhraj, Marina Dobryanskaya, Natalya Kucherenko, Igor Bortnikov, Igor Tolstunov, Sergei Kozlov
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Family Life
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/27/1999
Original Release Date: 07/17/1998
Theatrical Release Date: 07/17/1998
Release Year: 1999
Run Time: 1hr 36min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: Russian
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Movie Reviews

UK version not cut
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'd just like to let everyone know who read the comments by the reviewer from Moscow, Russia above that the UK version is uncut and unchanged from the original. In fact I was disgusted to hear that they've cut the ending in the US (DVD?) version. The whole point of the ending shows how Sanyas' life outlook and where he took his life were all being affected by Tolyan. Get the UK version if you can, the US version has been ruined by dropping the original ending."
The movie is about fatherhood
(5 out of 5 stars)

"For the little boy, Tolyan is his role model and his teacher, something that an ideal father should be. One important thing that's missing is father's love, and that void is filled up over time with regret, pity, and anger. Too bad that subtitled release of the movie cuts out the last scene that was in the original. It basically shows Sanya today and how his longing for that love chased him throughout the whole life and who he has become in today's Russia."
Beautiful portrait of a land, a nation and a family
J. Jacobs | 07/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Thief is a story of a young boy who learns his lessons in manhood from a tough stepfather with a Stalin tatoo, a supposed military man who is really a thief. The three principal characters, the mother, stepfather, and son, are very convincingly played. The scenes of life in Russia in the 1950s, from the communual apartments to the bleak landscapes, are magnificent. And the story of this boy's life is compelling.It's tragic in the classic Russian tradition, but a mesmerizing story and a nice example of quality modern Russian filmmaking."
Forget the Kleenex, get a towel
Kelly L. Norman | Plymouth, MI United States | 12/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The allegory in this film of a Stalin/USSR that the child Sanja must defeat went right over my head. So if you're looking for a deep analysis of the directors' subliminal intentions, I can't help you there. But I can tell you that "The Thief" struck me as the most poignant human drama I've seen since "Gallipolli". Briefly, a soldier's widow with a young son is won over by Tolya, a striking figure in a Red Army uniform which indeed does gaurd a tattoo of Stalin. Once the widow has learned of Tolya's habitual theft, along with his lack of remorse and empathy for others, she is already caught in his romantic spell. And Sanja, at first terrified of this new man in the family, gradually trusts him more and more. Especially for the innocent child, portrayed in awestruck wonder by Misha Philipchuk, this set-up bodes heartbreak.And the film does not disappoint in that expectation. This is well visualized when an older Sanja, alone and desperate to find Tolya, stares in disbelief as the latter, finally found, doesn't recognize him and ridicules his salutation of "Daddy"...the very nickname the con-artist had insisted on during their days together. The most innocent and trusting in this film are prey to those whose only desire is to please themselves....and to use the innocents for that purpose. But except for the child, the "innocent" are not blameless in the scenarios that ensue. Sanja's mother,Katje, sees many signs throughout first scenes of Tolya's true character, in his gruffness and cruelty to others, but she stays with him nonetheless, even to the point of jeapordizing her own life. The device of using a child's eyes as a window to this tragedy works well in this film, emphasizing the difference between the imagined, idolized Tolyan and the real one: not only in his eyes, but in everyone's. I thoroughly enjoyed the film, although I did use a lot of Kleenex.DVD Extras: trailer for film, subtitles in French, English & Spanish, scene breakdown."