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On a riveting journey with an irresistibly odd couple in Compartment No. 6

Laura (Seidi Haarla) is a self-doubting student from Finland unhappily dallying in Moscow with a friend who we’re pretty sure wants to get rid of. A train ride they were supposed to take together to see some petroglyphs in far-off Murmansk turns into a journey she must prepare for alone.

Instead, she’s thrown into a sleeper car with her worst nightmare: a Russian skinhead named Ljoha (Yuriy Borisov) whose uncouth, drunk chain-smoking habits stifle her personal space from minute one. In minute two, he makes fun of her language and mockingly asks if she’s a sex worker.

There are few ways to escape from this stranger on the train – he comes and harasses you in the dining car as well. With his way of alternating between eating sausage, brown bread and chips, he’s the kind of person who’s likely to have you begging for John Candy’s company on Planes, Trains and Automobiles – a character who, for all his exaggerations, means well Has .

Much like this unequal two-handed sword, Juho Kuosmanen’s film follows this close relationship, gradually evolving into a reluctant intimacy. He told this story in the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and depoliticized Rosa Liksom’s original novel somewhat, making the two characters much closer in age as well.

It’s an engrossing exercise to watch in this pre-MeToo setting as Laura tries to offer Ljoha the best possible advantage of the doubt, based on his rather grim, friendless life in a Russian hillbilly. It becomes an essay about bending over backwards to attempt a liberal understanding, punctuated by shocking moments in which Ljoha snarls at her efforts and throws any semblance of politeness overboard.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/0/compartment-no-6-review-riveting-journey-irresistibly-odd-couple/ On a riveting journey with an irresistibly odd couple in Compartment No. 6

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