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Tycoon: A New Russian (Олигарх, 2002) with subs

2017 916

A ''rat charmer'' is the pungent description applied by one character in Pavel Lounguine's film ''Tycoon'' to Platon Makovski (Vladimir Mashkov), a brilliant Russian gangster and fashion plate who glides through the movie with a suave, reptilian self-assurance. As embodied by Mr. Mashkov, a charismatic Russian actor who ravenously taps into his character's zest for mischief, Platon is emblematic of the rampant opportunism that has swept Russia in the post-Communist era. His ascent from academia to fearsome power broker and the richest man in Russia is loosely based on the career of Boris Berezovsky, a notorious wheeler-dealer in whose offices parts of ''Tycoon'' were filmed.

This ambitious movie, which portrays the explosion of a wild and woolly brand of capitalism in the former Soviet Union, wants to be an Eastern European ''Godfather,'' and several of its characters seem patterned after the mobsters in American gangster films. In certain shots, Mr. Mashkov resembles Al Pacino as Michael Corleone. But where Mr. Pacino's hooded eyes conveyed a cold, brooding determination, the Russian star (who has appeared in Hollywood films like ''Behind Enemy Lines'') expresses an antic merriment as he steals and cheats his way to the top.


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