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TYCOON aka OLIGARKH
USA: New Yorker Films
Cast: Vladimir Mashkov, Andrei Krasko, Maria Mironova, Sergei Oshkevic, Alexandre Samoilenko, Mikael Vasserbaum, Levani Uchaineshvili, Marat Basharov, Alexandre Baluev
Director: Pavel Lungin
Language: Russian (English subtitles)
USA: 128 mins
USA Release Date: 13 June 2003 (Limited Release - New York)
A true story based on the life of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky.
In 1988, Plato Makovski, an idealistic young academic, convinced four brilliant friends to abandon their science studies in favor of the shady world of post-Soviet business. Set against the backdrop of many stupendous upheavals that the country was undergoing, including the economic meltdown that followed the fall of Communism, Plato devised a slew of semi-legal financial deals that enabled him to outfox the ongoing opposition of the Russian secret service (the spiritual heirs of the KGB). He quickly became the richest man in Russia, whose financial and political clout equaled that of the government that tolerated and endured him until he eventually became its rival and enemy.
Taking the form of a thriller that follows the police investigation into an attempted assassination of Plato, TYCOON draws us into the private lives and backgrounds of these complex and unique characters who loot their country and its inhabitants, yet are also the lifeblood of a nation paralyzed by inertia and the fear of change. Once a freedom-loving idealist, Plato used his genius to become a monster, unhesitatingly sacrificing his ideals and his closest friends. This is the tragedy of this super-talented individual who embodies all that is most creative in the new Russian and, at the same time, all which is worst for the country that he privatized for his own profit.
Set over a fifteen-year period, TYCOON is a true saga that begins with the early days under Gorbachev and moves through the heyday of wealth and power during the Yeltsin era. A kind of 'Once Upon a Time in Russia', TYCOON shows how one man can help throw a country's entire life into turmoil.