‘Hard to be a God’, by Aleksey German

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March 22, 2015 by Me and My Monkeys

One hundred and seventy minutes.

That’s a long time to meditate on the grotesque.

We, the gods of the audience, know how the central character – Don Rumata – feels. There isn’t a frame that doesn’t require (from both him and us) a mix of intense concentration and a will to suppress the gag reflex.

The craft of the film is flawless; the whole enterprise is astounding. And yet … this is not a film for the weak of stomach or the short of patience.

English speakers – including this reviewer and his monkeys – must also stand idly by as a suite of winks and nudges fall through the cracks between cultures and languages. Something is happening here but we don’t know what it is. 

Whether or not you go the distance, you won’t forget Hard to Be a God for some time.

Recommended? Um … watch for 30 minutes and reassess.

Out of 10? An impressive but almost unwatchable 6.

My monkeys suggest: Have a Vodka Red Bull or two before you start.

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