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Compartmentalization

A line has been drawn in the sand regarding what movies play in theaters and what movies go straight to streaming and the result is that the viewer has lost the battle.

Disney the company that bought 20th Century Films, and incidentally the same parent company that has decreed that ABC rewrite Oscar protocol, has released potential big screen films as diverse as “Fresh” (Fox Searchlight) and “Deep Water” (20th Century Films) on their satellite streaming platform Hulu. Here are two films would surely have found audience support as big screen releases.

The latter is the first film from Adrian Lyne in two decades. That’s like Terrence Malick, whose films “Days of Heaven” and “The Thin Red Line” saw a twenty year release gap.

But there’s still select indie and genre films rolling out in theaters this week including the exploitation savvy “X” and “Alice.

Perhaps Sony Pictures Classics thought they had a winner on their hands when they picked up an acclaimed Russian film, “Compartment Number Six” about a university student from Finland studying in Moscow. Our heroine takes a train to a remote Arctic port town to view petroglyphs.

Most of the film takes place on a train where she shares a second class compartment with a guy traveling to the same city. His work at a remote mine defines his personality, a bit hardened from lack of greater awareness to the larger world.

They don’t get along to say the least. When she arrives in Murmansk she realizes that the roads to the petroglyphs are closed during the winter. Her miner friend decides to do the right thing and charters a boat to travel to the site despite bad weather conditions.

“Compartment Number Six” makes salient points about the relationship between the sexes. Actress Seidi Haarla gives a brave and emotional performance that recalls another fine actress Jessie Buckley. But will people rush to see a Russian film like they are going to see a similar (in theme) foreign film like “Drive My Car?”

Next: Go Ask ‘Alice’