Usually, films from Eastern Europe are the surest way to bring about
my mad dash for a steep cliff. But in the case of this Hungarian entry
from first time director Nimrod Antal (yes, his real name), I was given
more than enough reason to remain seated. In fact, I actually enjoyed
myself. Unlike most films from that region, Kontroll is packed
with a pulse-pounding energy, both in terms of the action and the
musical selections. Filmed entirely in the Budapest subway system, the
film concerns a group of workers who must deal with a murderous
“spirit,” a humorless supervisor, and violent passengers who simply
refuse to buy tickets. While dark and somber in many ways, there’s also
a sly wit to be found, which makes it a fun ride and not simply a
preachy parable about post-Communist chaos. I saw this film as the last
screening on a Sunday night, which was flirting with danger (as my
heavy eyes would not abide the static imagery of the former Warsaw Pact
nations), but stay awake I did, much to my joyful surprise.