Kontroll (15)

Directed by Nimród Antal, Written by Nimród Antal and Jim Adler
Screening at FACT from 29th October - 4th November 2004

Reviewed by Adam Ford

This debut picture from young American-born director Nimród Antal shows a prodigious grasp of the tricks of the trade, creating a grim descent into the dank and dingy underworld of the Budapest metro.

Bulcsú (Sándor Csányi) is the brooding leader of a gang of 'controllers' - a rag-tag group of misfits who are part ticket collector and part wardens of the underground system. When a spate of apparent suicides break out it surprises no-one, given the ominous surroundings, though it adds watching for people jumping under trains to the controllers' already nightmarish drudgery. But they can always distract themselves with gallows humour, games of chicken with the midnight express, and observation of the numerous eccentrics who ride the lines and attempt to dodge fares. It's enough to make someone lose control...

Combining a riveting plot with magnetic performances from a superb cast and an electro-industrial soundtrack that pushes the film along in the all the right places, this is a prodigious effort from Antal. Located somewhere between Metropolis and Blade Runner, Kontroll promises great things for Hungarian cinema and needs to be seen at least twice.