The Prisoner of St. Petersburg (1989)

The Prisoner of St. Petersburg Poster

A young Russian man arrives in Berlin in search of a woman, but becomes entangled with two others one of whom falls in love with him and another who represents a classic Russian heroine like out of a novel from one of his countrymen idols.

Movie Overview
"The Prisoner of St. Petersburg" is a 1989 Australian film directed by Ian Pringle and starring Noah Taylor popular for his look in 'The Year My Voice Broke.' This surrealist drama movie revolves around the life of a boy called Jack who is lost in his world of creativity and his deception about the Russian novel, "Crime and Punishment".

Plot Synopsis
Jack shows up in Melbourne leaving his home town behind. Fascinated by the unique "Crime and Punishment", he imagines bringing the story to life. However, he doesn't have much cash nor a suitable job. Although he finds work as an actor in a speculative theatre group, it fails to offer him with stable earnings.

Jack's fascination with the protagonist of "Crime and Punishment", Raskolnikov, grows much deeper, which deludes his sense of truth and fiction. His immersion into the character results in unforeseen effects, creating the significant narrative of the film.

Exploration of Theatricality and Identity
The film wisely plays with themes of stagecraft and identity. Jack's obsession with the character offers him an escape from his severe truth. He begins to lose his identity, questioning the nature of his presence and truth itself. Jack's existence is a play within a play-- an engaging theatrical exploration that leaves the audience thinking.

Cinematic Style and Location
Embed in the metropolitan landscape of Melbourne, the movie showcases the city's distinguishing characteristics in highly stylized and atmospheric shots. The movie's cinematic style is dreamlike, including a comprehensive usage of shadows and shapes that aesthetically reveal Jack's disconnection and isolation.

Important Reception
"The Prisoner of St. Petersburg" got important honor at the Australian Film Awards. Critics have mentioned that the movie's dreamy, modernistic technique and the impressive efficiency of Noah Taylor contribute to the uniqueness of the drama. The film's visual narrative and imaginative storytelling were also applauded.

In general, "The Prisoner of St. Petersburg" is a thought-provoking expedition of existentialism and the struggles of self-identity. With an excellent efficiency from Noah Taylor and an unique take on translating literature metaphors to the screen, it throws light on the intricacies of human nature and the conflicts between reality and imagination, developing itself as a substantial contributor to Australian movie theater. The movie integrates an interesting narrative and leaves the audience pondering the thin line between fiction and truth, making it a rewarding watch.

Top Cast

  • Noah Taylor (small)
    Noah Taylor
  • Solveig Dommartin (small)
    Solveig Dommartin
  • Katja Teichmann
  • Olivier Picot
  • Wieland Speck
    Youth in Bar
  • Johanna Karl-Lory
    Old Woman
  • Lars Michalak
    Russian man behind door
  • RenĂ© Schoenenberger (small)
    René Schoenenberger
  • Hans Martin Stier (small)
    Hans Martin Stier
    Truck driver