Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Friday, November 28, 2014

Citizen X

Citizen X, an HBO movie from 1995 about a Ukrainian serial killer. Stars Stephen Rea, Donald Sutherland and Max Von Sydow. I recognize Donald and Max of course, surprised they are still alive. Of course the movie is almost 20 years old, but it turns out they are both still alive today. Anyway they show up as clean and polished, almost like dolls on a stage. Stephen is the lead detective on this case and he looks more like a man in his element - perpetually rumpled, even when his suit was neatly pressed. He looked familar. Checking with IMDB I find he was in V for Vendetta, one of my all time favorites, though I don't remember his character from that movie. The movie strikes me as rather spare - made for a dollar and half in Eastern Europe, and not very subtle, but it tells an interesting story, and it's not the one about the serial killer. We have these two (and later three) guys investigating this series of murders, but they are trying to do it from inside of the Soviet bureaucracy, and that bureaucracy has them ham-strung six ways from Sunday. Early on in the film we see our detective pass by a Lenin poster (above) on the street, just so you know where you are. The investigation goes on for years and eventually the Soviet Union collapses. We see the same scene again, except this time there are only a few scraps of the poster hanging on the wall, most of it has been ripped down. Now that the political empire has collapsed, the committee meetings to review progress on the case are much more civilized affairs. Previously we have a crowd of suits sitting at a long table facing down our hero, not that any of them mattered. The fat political officer at the end of the table was the only one with any real clout. The others were there just to bow and scrape, near as I can tell. Now we have a brave new world [tm]: we only have the Major (Sutherland), now promoted to General, and our detective, who is now promoted to Major, and isn't long before they have a suspect in custody.

Bonus: Soviet Steam Locomotive

Because the killer frequented train stations.

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