Combustible Celluloid
Own it:
Get the Poster
Search for streaming:
NetflixHuluGoogle PlayGooglePlayCan I
With: Miki Manojlovic, Lazar Ristovski, Mirjana Jokovic, Slavko Stimac, Ernst Stotzner, Srdjan Todorovic, Mirjana Karanovic, Milena Pavlovic, Bata Stojkovic, Bora Todorovic, Davor Dujmovic, Dr. Nele Karajlic, Branislav Lecic, Erol Kadic, Predrag Zagorac, Hark Bohm, Petar Kralj, Dragan Nikolic
Written by: Emir Kusturica, Dusan Kovacevic
Directed by: Emir Kusturica
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Serbo-Croatian with English subtitles
Running Time: 167
Date: 04/01/1995

Underground (1995)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Post-War Syndrome

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Emir Kusturica's 1995 epic won the Palm D'Or and placed on several critics' lists as one of the best films of the decade. It's an admirable, interesting wartime satire, but it has a vaguely distasteful feel that makes its 167 minutes a difficult slog. The film tells the story of two friends, Marko and Blacky. During WWII in Yugoslavia, they set up an arms shop underground. Marko goes up top to make contacts and sell guns to the resistance, while Blacky remains underground. After the war ends, Marko has made a fortune and earned the respect of the entire country, and so he leaves Blacky underground and convinces him that the war is still going on. They both fall for the same girl, an actress (Mirjana Jokovic), which provides much of the so-called humor. Director Emir Kusturica (Arizona Dream, Black Cat, White Cat) has a taste for vulgar slapstick, but no timing for it. He'll spend several minutes setting up a gag -- as when a trained monkey climbs into an armed tank -- and by the time the payoff comes we're bored. Another of the belabored jokes involves a movie fictionalizing Marko's memoirs. When Blacky finally surfaces, he does so right on top of the movie set, which he mistakes for the real war. Even so, Kusturica keeps up a certain energy, as well as a kind of angry enthusiasm for skewering everything in sight. Kusturica -- a very good actor, by the way -- appears in a small role toward the end.

The 2007 DVD release comes with a brief director interview shot live at the Cannes Film Festival, and trailers. In 2018, Kino Lorber released a special 3-disc Blu-ray edition.

Movies Unlimtied