The Light Thief (2010) dir. Aktan Arym Kubat
Starring: Aktan Arym Kubat, Taalaikan Abazova, Askat Sulaimanov, Asan Amanov and Stanbek Toichubaev
By Greg Klymkiw
Is there anything more boring than movies from Iran?
Well, how about movies from Kyrgyzstan?
From director-star Aktan Arym Kubat, The Light Thief is a dull, slender, well-meaning, mildly quixotic trifle that is paced slower than the Mesozoic Era and makes considerable inroads for the country of Kyrgyzstan to steal the Dullsville crown from our Iranian brothers.
This twee little item has our protagonist whimsically plodding through a tiny town in the middle of Nowheresville - helping poor pensioners by fiddling with their electricity meters so they can get a break on their bills. He is eventually discovered, fired and in the process, battles post-Soviet corruption to milk the town dry, finding more inner peace and redemption than he bargained for.
Isn't that nice?
This is not an awful picture, but I do wonder why these things continue to get made. I can only assume there are enough segments of the movie-loving public - so starved for something new and different - that they're willing to settle for featherweight "art" like this.
It's a nice looking film, but with the accent on "nice" rather than visually sumptuous or dazzling. Kubat's compositions are always very pretty, but the camera holds on many of them for what seems like an eternity. Precious little happens in these shots - save for twee little moments from the neo-realist school of filmmaking with, weirdly, far too many daubs of whimsy, which might all might have been vaguely interesting if it hadn't been so annoying.
Make no mistake. We're not in the territory of Bela Tarr Dullsville - thank Christ! (Though even that would have proven more intolerable since Tarr at least drags us through muck while Kubat tiptoes through the Kyrgyzstanian tulips.)
There's some filmmaking talent here, to be sure, but the almost unbearable tweeness of the proceedings induces the double threat of inducing a sore ass AND the rising of bile.
I can imagine someone liking this sort of thing and for what it is, it could have been worse. That said, it's yet another example of the kind of rarefied nonsense that appeals to granola-munching poseurs.
Great movies - even those that deal with the smaller moments in life - need to make them feel BIGGER than life itself to exist on a big screen. The Light Thief, however, feels so tiny and inconsequential.
And, uh... lest we forget - twee.