The Fool review: From Russia with audacity | JDiff 2015

Billy Wilder satire, Russian-style? Yuriy Bykov’s The Fool

Film Title: The Fool

Director: Yuriy Bykov

Starring: Nina Antyukhova, Sergey Artsybashev

Genre: Drama

Running Time: 116 min

Mon, Mar 23, 2015, 01:00


On a routine call-out to a crumbling Soviet-era block of apartments, plumber Dima discovers a fault in the building, one that is serious enough to warrant the evacuation of the 800 residents.

An honest man, Dima attempts to alert the authorities, who seem most reluctant to take action against a crisis that, crucially, happened on their watch.

As with his previous thriller, The Mayor, writer and director Bykov incorporates accessible genre beats into a dark satire that might have pleased Billy Wilder. The young Russian auteur skilfully switches between a crawling bureaucratic pace redolent of Milos Forman’s Fireman’s Ball and the relentless pound of a post-Watergate conspiracy flick.

The Fool doggedly teases out themes of systemic corruption to a wincingly bitter conclusion. An important and audacious allegory.