Director | Ben Hopkins
Producer | Daniel Zuta, Mike Downey, Sam Taylor, Vladimir Katcharava, Artem Vassiliev
Writer | Ben Hopkins, Pawel Pawlikowski
Cast | Matthew Macfadyen, MyAnna Buring, Noah Taylor, Ali Cook, Ümit Ünal, Richard Van Weyden
Run Time | 96 mins
Certificate | 15
Plot | Director Emil Forester (Matthew Macfadyen) accepts an invitation to an obscure film festival in the fictional Caucasia nation of the Autonomous Republic of Karastan. Whilst there, it’s eccentric dictator hires him to direct a national epic propaganda piece.
Review | Unbeknownst to most of you, this Ben Hopkins directed flick had a very short big screen release back in January. This is a good example of a decent, unheralded film being swept aside at the cinema to make space for bigger, dumber, poorer contemporaries.
Whilst it is unfair, comparisons to Borat will be made by those only skim reading a review or catching parts of the trailer. Lost in Karastan is nothing like this. It is a much lighter, subtler offering, and probably best described as a meta-movie disguised as a satirical black comedy.
The principle cast is pretty good, with MyAnna Buring and Richard Van Weyden probably the standouts as Chulpan and President Abashiliev respectively. There could probably be more sizzle between Buring and Macfadyean, but that’s a very minor point.
If anything, the only real criticism that can be made of the film is that it can’t quite decide exactly what it wants to be, and what tone to take. There’s definitely a strong undercurrent of social and political commentary, both relating to the vanity and naivety of the movie industry, but also of the politics of dictatorial nations. Unfortunately, it’s not quite serious enough as a piece to quite hit these points home. On the flipside, as a comedy it is quite light, and probably not outright strong enough to sell it on that. It is also not quite committed enough to be considered a rom com.
In the end, there are many worse ways to spend 90 minutes of your time.
The Verdict | Lost in Karastan can’t quite decide if it’s a satire, a rom com, a meta movie, or a socio-political commentary. In the end, it is simply a decent-to-good entertainment.