N-Judah Chronicles Movie Review: Kontroll

What with all the talk of fare cheats and turnstile jumpers on Muni in the papers, it seemed appropriate I write a review of the Hungarian sorta sci-fi, sorta not film Kontroll. I watched it last night thanks to Netflix (and to the fact that Initial D – The Movie is on Super Long Wait).
Although the film was shot entirely on location in the Budapest subway system, it’d be a mistake to say the film is “set” in Budapest. Rather, it uses amazing cinematography and a cast of characters to create an otherworldly feel. Oh, and did I mention that the main characters were a gang of hardcore ticket inspectors?
Yes, you read that right.. Our film focuses on one “gang” of ticket inspectors (who look more like undercover cops in the bad part of town than civil servants) and they’re always chasing after people who haven’t paid to alternately comic and tragic effect.
One scene tha stood out as a Pulp Fiction-like moment was when our heroes are chasing after the most notorious turnstile jumper in the vast underground. That scene alone makes the film worth it.
Also notable is the opening scene, which includes a lengthy statement from a manager of the Budapest Railway Company, explaining that while they were happy to help the director make his movie, and felt that it was a great story of good and evil, that the “world” depicted in it is fictious. Never underestimate the one constant in the bureacuratic universe – the need to cover one’s backside, even when you really like the project.
I don’t like to write reviews that spoil the film by doing a plot recap, so instead I’ll just say this – if you’re bored of watching the Same Old Stuff, or if Netflix isn’t giving your favorite DVD rentals quick enough, try this one for something that’s a little different, but ultilmately very entertaining.
And for the folks at Muni who are wondering what to do about the scofflaws and the fact that a lack of stable revenue means we’re due for a total collapse of the system, perhaps they could take some notes. Maybe all we really need are roving gangs of toughs to rough up those who think the world owes them a ride for free…

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