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1 review, 19 user ratings

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by Gadzooks!

"War can be funny!"
5 stars

It's 2 hours and 47 minutes long...it spans nearly half a century...it's a comedy, a drama, a fantasy, a romance, a documentary, a war film, and a history lesson all rolled into one...it knows no boundaries or limitations...it is the epic masterpiece "Underground" by Emir Kusturica...and it's available to rent at your local video store.

"Underground" is about the years of war that tore the former Yugoslavia apart. Marko (Miki Monojlovic) and Blacky (Lazar Ristovski) were partners and profiteers during WWII, and a gypsy brass band followed them where ever they went. When Air raids got particularly bad, Marko hid everyone in the neighborhood (including Blacky)in a very large shelter under his house where they began to manufacture guns...the only thing is...Marko doesn't tell them when the war is over. He keeps them down there for twenty years while he gets richer and richer. Soon Marko falls in love with a beautiful actress named Natalija(Mirjana Jokovic)and the two of them hatch an elaborate scheme of "faking" the war. Marko becomes a very prominent and political figure in society and builds a memorial to his friend Blacky whom he says died in glory.

Things run smoothly for Marko and Natalija...the people of the underground seem to enjoy their surroundings, and feel safe from the war they believe is still raging. Babies are born, people die, and Blacky's son Jovan (Srdjan Todorovic)is getting married. Meanwhile a zoo keeper named Ivan (Slavko Stimac)has been searching underground for his pet monkey Soni, who escaped during as air raid, in a truly heartbreaking sub-plot. Ivan spends his entire life looking for his friend. Blacky thinks it is time for he and jovan to fight for their country, and the two escape to the outside where they stumble upon a movie being made about Blacky's own life! They see a war scene being filmed and thinking it's real begin killing the actors portraying Nazi's. It's around this time when all hell breaks lose, and things start ro get REALLY confusing! The movie spans nearly half a century chronicaling the character's lives.

As you can see this movie is incredibly intricate and complex with many characters and sub-plots that I didn't even touch on 'cause I didn't want you to spontaneously combust. This film has a very rich and epic feel to it, and it's really enough to make your head spin...but in a good way...not in a "Matrixy" sort of way. I have never seen a movie with more beautiful cinematography, the musical score adds another whole dimension, and the symbolic imagery will leave you spellbound. Most movies have maybe one or two memorable scenes, but this one honestly has dozens. Each character suffers a truly unique life, from the wheelchair bound brother of Natalija, to Blacky's wife who dies alone in childbirth...each performance is worthy of ten Oscars.

The acting in "Underground" is the finest I have seen, we just don't have any American actors who can compare. There is a scene where Marko shoots his own legs to convey to Blacky how sorry he is for what he has done. The facial expressions that Miki Manjolovic conjures up are so real, his tone of voice chills you to the bone. You almost wonder if someone accidentally put real bullets instead of blanks in the gun ala Brandon Lee. Don't get me wrong, it isn't all shooting legs and heart broken zoo keepers, in addition to all the dramatic scenes there are some extremely funny ones. You know foreigners...they love their Jerry Lewis and they love their slapstick. I hate this term but I gotta use it, this film is a real "emotional roller coaster" (Arg! there I said it, are you happy now?) When you're not laughing you're crying, it's the sort of movie that makes you want to jump for joy and silently weep into your pillow.

Some people may find this movie to be too chaotic, but then again these are the people who enjoy "Bio Dome" on a regular basis. I say let them have their "Bio Dome" and leave the real movie lovers to Emir Kusturica's epic masterpiece "Underground". Gadzooks! Grade: A+

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1535&reviewer=254
originally posted: 03/11/01 14:55:01
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User Comments

6/08/11 Monsieur Hulot In my opinion, the gretest film of 90s. 5 stars
10/31/05 nikola this is the ultimate portrait of serbian nation 5 stars
4/27/04 Pedro Etchepare this shit fuckin ruled! 5 stars
4/25/04 elaine nelson Awesome. Can't wait for the sequel 5 stars
3/31/04 sansho Overblown, flashy, irritating waste of undoubted talent 2 stars
7/14/03 markovic the best film i have ever seen 5 stars
12/27/02 anniebelle great quick n dirty guide to balkans with unforgettable scenes of dancing & general mayhem 5 stars
11/29/02 Umut Topkara I love this film. Means a lot to Mediterrenian people. 5 stars
11/21/02 Mark Like Magnolia (but a lot better), an amazing movie with a few forgivable flaws. 5 stars
2/19/02 Jason Torres One of the films I ever seen! 5 stars
12/31/01 Andrew Carden I Agree With Monster W. Kung. 3 stars
8/09/01 Alvaro Espinoza It´s a wonderfull film, interesting story with an excelent soundtrack!th 5 stars
5/21/01 Monster W. Kung It might be a metaphor, but it doesn't work. At least not for such a long movie. 3 stars
5/08/01 Mackey One word: Kusturica! :) 5 stars
8/11/00 Yassen Roussev A great one from the Balkan master of film 5 stars
4/15/00 Davva A masterpiece!! 5 stars
12/10/99 Heather One of the best movies I have ever seen! 5 stars
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  20-Jun-1997 (R)


  26-Dec-1995 (M)

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