Moscow Never Sleeps

Irish director Johnny O’Reilly, who lives in the Moscow that he loves more than Dublin, decides to track the lives of several fictional residents for 24 hours, giving filmviewers a taste of life in the Russian capital by shifting back and forth between several intertwined personal melodramas amid impressive cinematography of a burgeoning high-rise city in Moscow Never Sleeps. The most politically relevant life features an executive who presents a proposed building complex to Moscow city authorities, who in turn steal his project to get credit. When he refuses to go along with their game, his office is ransacked. He then decides to relocate to New York with his girlfriend despite a caution that “New York is overrated.” But his girlfriend is still being chased by an ex-boyfriend, to whom she admits that she has ditched him because the exec gives her a better life. When the three meet together on the street after her public singing performance, the exec punches him to the ground. But the ex-boyfriend is the son of a famous comedian, who evidently has terminal cancer. Rather than being confined to a hospital, the comedian decides to eat and drink in a nearby café, where he is accosted by four teenage punks, who provide transportation so that he can have his wife meet his girlfriend. The punks, in turn, go to a strip bar disco, meet two teenage girls, and try to have sex with them. The girls, half-sisters who hate each other, are from a broken family that earlier expels a grandmother to a nursing home. Amid the emotional chaos, showing how Moscovites cope with daily life, the film provides a happy ending to almost everyone amid fireworks and a parade for Moscow Day. The exuberant style of the film follows Robert Altman’s “short cuts” style, which attracted a Political Film Society nomination in 1993. MH