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“Vlad The Impaler” is Putin’s directorial debut
Vladamir Putin’s artistic ventures, presented in whatever incarnation he wishes, have always oozed sexual prowess. As Nicolas Sarkozy famously said, “He’s a bad bastard and he knows it,” and Vlad The Impaler, his directorial debut, aims to echo this sentiment.
Ryan Gosling turns on the charm as a politician turned hitman in this slick Russian noir, but its confusing plot holes mean the film is far from convincing.
Putin’s brainchild is a pulp thriller, menacing, brutal, and pretty damn slick. In a recent interview with Vice, Russia’s most prominent statesman declared, “there is hardly a male pundit or columnist in the world under 80 who hasn’t declared a throbbing man-crush on Ryan Gosling, and that is why I chose him to play the permafrost protagonist… me.”
Playing a hitman working for a Moscow mafia of sorts, Gosling walks the street with a toothpick in the corner of his mouth, wearing a slick bomber jacket that displays a burning American flag on the back. Along with being a top marksman, he is also a talented sculptor, a poet, a semi-professional ice skater, an expert lover, and a phenomenally gifted getaway driver. Displaying testicular fortitude like no other, he can drive at terrifying speeds with extraordinary maneuverability; seemingly possessing a sixth sense for cop cars and homosexuals.
In the style of Tarantino, Vlad The Impaler is a decent film with stimulating visual flair, one that possesses gruesome gaiety and dark humor. As Martin Scorsese remarked at the St. Petersburg screening, “Gosling has charisma and presence, although the notion of an ice-skating hitman sits uncomfortably with the super-cool violence I was expecting to see.”