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4.6 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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(Dec 23, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

This sprawling, exhausting, deeply moving Palme d'Or winner represents the pinnacle of Serbian director Emir Kusturica's considerable abilities, and what is easily one of the best cinematic achievements of the 1990s. It encapsulates 50 turbulent years of Yugoslavian history, from the outbreak of World War II in the 1940s to the destruction of this once-great nation in the 1990s. \n When we first meet Marko (Miki Manojlovic) and Blacky (Lazar Ristovski), it's hard to take these jokers seriously. All they want to do is party their lives away. But the Nazi shelling of Belgrade changes everything, and the resourceful duo comes up with an ingenious plan--one will stay aboveground while the other goes underground. The arrangement represents an ideal opportunity for all concerned: Blacky, his wife, and the rest of their friends and neighbors will be protected from the chaos going on above, while Marko and the lovely Natalija (Mira Sorvino look-alike Mirjana Jokovic) will sell the weapons they're making down below. Everyone will share in the profits. \n But Marko commits the ultimate act of betrayal--against Blacky and the rest of his subterranean comrades. This sort of deception can only lead to tragedy, and Kusturica doesn't spare us the details. In fact, it's his eye for detail that makes "Underground" such a memorable experience--the perfect note his cast strikes between the extremes of physical comedy, passionate romance, and mortal pain, the insidiously infectious brass-heavy score and the strikingly colorful images. \n "Underground" is basically a parable, and doesn't always adhere to the laws of physics. It isn't for the literal-minded, the impatient, or the partisan. It's loud, it's long, and it isn't for the easily offended. It may just also be one of the saddest movies ever made and stands as a fitting tribute to a country that exists only in the hearts and minds of its former residents. "--Kathleen C. Fennessy"

Special Features

  • Interview with Director Emir Kustrica
  • French trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Hark Bohm, Davor Dujmovic, Mirjana Jokovic, Erol Kadic, Dr. Nele Karajlic
  • Directors: Emir Kusturica
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: New Yorker Video
  • DVD Release Date: December 23, 2003
  • Run Time: 167 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000DIJPT
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,542 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Underground" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As with Kusturica's "Black Cat, White Cat," it's almost impossible to summarize the plot of this film. Suffice it to say that the film is a quasi-realistic fable of perhaps 50 years in the history of Yugoslavia, beginning during WWII. It has everything - love, betrayal, greed, tragedy, comedy - even a touch of magic now and then.

I love the pure extravagance of this film. A tiger, trapped in ruins, reaches for the head of a defiant swan. An elephant steals a pair of shoes from an open, 2nd story window. A young woman flies through the air to her waiting groom - attached or not to a battering ram? Blacky, an electrician, has seemingly infinite resistance (pun intended) to torture by electrical shock - not to mention that he sleeps with his eyes wide open and charges on-stage while his lover is performing, ties her on his back, and carries her away.

And all this is done at the pace of the Marx Brothers on speed and with NO reliance on computer-generated graphics. It's all from the creative brains of the writer/director/cinematographer team. Forget realism - just take a ride on the back of this film and try to catch your breath!
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Format: DVD
If you have a DVD shelf do not group this movie with the rest of your collection. It deserves a throne, a piedestal to sit on all by itself, above everything else that has ever flickered over the silver screen. This movie is not seen, it is lived, expirienced, read like a book. The metaphors and similies in this movie equal any in any poem or a novel. Raw, inspired, dark, and bitter, it will twist your guts into a knot, which is precisly what the 50-odd years of history of the region it symbolizes does (Ex-Yugoslavia '41-'95) It is amazing how this movie manages to offer images and idealogy to represent the social changes in the society as well as mental changes in the people of the region.

On the next level, cinematography, acting, directing are all unrivaled, if at times overemphasized and overdone (but that's Kusturica for you)
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Format: DVD
If you ever wondered why all those wars in Yugoslavia broke out, don't watch documentary films about it, watch this movie. I am originaly from Yugoslavia, and I know how horrible that war was. And why did it brake out? Why did Serbs kill Croats, Croats kill Serbs,...? Why did brothers kill brothers when they all lived together under Tito only 10 years ago? Is Milosevic to blame? No, if the people didn't want to kill each other, they wouldn't have elected him. To find out the reason why it happened, we have to analyze WWII in Yugoslavia a little better. Thats exactly what this movie does. Even if you're not Yugoslavian, you will feel sad at the end of the movie. Yugoslavs are not crazy, war-loving animals, we are just hungry for party's, tuba music and just having fun. After seeing this movie, you will have a new understanding for the Balkans conflict and probably will be very mad when you hear someone say "Yugoslavia fell apart because those Slavs are nuts". I think that Emir Kusturica is a genius, and you will understand why when you see this movie.

Boris, from Vancouver (originaly from SUBOTICA, YU)
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Format: VHS Tape
Funny how film reviews are so easily transformed into political battlegrounds...or is it tragic? The anonymous reviewer from California is not alone in his or her one-star grading. The New Yorker had also ruthlessly criticized the political implications of the film in its 1995 review of Underground, which is not surprising, given the anti-Serbian sentiments of the US since the early nineties (which have multiplied as a result of the long-ignored ethnic cleansing of ethnic Albanians taking place in Kosovo as we speak), but also the inability of many Americans to comprehend the complex history of Yugoslavia, both pre- and post-Tito. No matter how 'well-informed' one claims to be, and no matter if one's political opinions are valid, one simply cannot obliterate the value of a film for its political background. But all this talk about politics obscures what this film is really about. Underground is not a political film. It is utterly clear to one who sees the it for what it is, and not for what some would like to interpret it as, that this is the expression of the director's personal anguish that the fall of Yugoslavia brought upon his life. So I ask you, who is anonymous-California-person or any Mr/Ms USA who feels that they have the authority or the 'well-informedness' to silence, or even worse, to invalidate the voice of a man who feels he has something to mourn. Many Americans can go about their lives without ever having to face any political reality whatsoever (or have you forgotten that most Americans don't even vote?) let alone being told by some guy in a blue hat that yesterday you had a country and now you don't. The situation of Yugoslavia is a tragedy all around, and this film expresses with sincerity the universality of its horrors.Read more ›
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Format: VHS Tape
This film is filled with so much energy and joy that no audience can come out of it unmoved. This film has so many layers of story, that not one person will have the same impulses after seeing this picture. And isn't that what counts: to see a picture that makes you think what you just saw instead of just going mindless out of the cinema?
The story is perfect mix of tragedy, comedy, romance,hate. Everything we incapsulate in what we call a life. Underneith it tells the story of heroes,glorification of heroes, war criminals. It's not often i get swept away by a film but this film really managed to capture what the film medium can do. A mix of bitter sweet story, that changes emotions and attitude throughout the film
As original as two Coen brothers films combined and as moving as anything you will ever see........ Perhaps the best film of this decade... Seldom do you learn so much about the times you are living in as in this film. It's a must see for anyone who consider themselves even a bit interested in films. Masterpieces like this are so hard to come by that no one can afford to miss it.
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