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The Thief

4.6 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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DVD
(Sep 22, 2009)
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Russian w/ English Subtitles
1
$19.99
$13.44 $9.89
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In 1946 a soldier fathers a child and dies before his birth. Six years later, the mother and the child meet a handsome soldier in a train. An incredible story of much deceptions, heartbreaks and betrayals ensue. Chukhraj masterfully depicts at a personal level what could be a keen portrayal of the larger society's emotional state of being in post-war Russia.

Review

Superb! Intimate and Epic! --Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

Beautiful! --San Francisco Chronicle

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Vladimir Mashkov, Yekaterina Rednikova, Misha Philipchuk, Amaliya Mordvinova, Lidiya Savchenko
  • Directors: Pavel Chukhraj
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Russian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: September 22, 2009
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0022RVO18
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,628 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Thief" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 4, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
I'd just like to let everyone know who read the comments by the reviewer from Moscow, Russia above that the UK version is uncut and unchanged from the original. In fact I was disgusted to hear that they've cut the ending in the US (DVD?) version. The whole point of the ending shows how Sanyas' life outlook and where he took his life were all being affected by Tolyan. Get the UK version if you can, the US version has been ruined by dropping the original ending.
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Format: VHS Tape
I saw this movie for the first time when it came out in Russia. It made a very strong impression on me. I am sure you will also find it hard not to feel for the Russian woman, used to being strong, yet so in need of love and protection, and for the boy searching for a father figure in the same horrible world of post-war Russia. Unfortunately, in its American version, the movie had to be cut (probably to make it shorter). Some of the cuts I don't mind as much but cutting off the end of the movie is just over the top! The European version of the movie has another scene where Sanya, now in his forties and an officer taking part in the Afghanistan war ( a terrible part of Russian history, the Soviet version of Vietnam ) and meets Tolyan (who did not die, after all). I will not tell you the rest, in case you happen to find the European version. But I think this ending wraps up the movie much better than the American one.
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By A Customer on September 10, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
For the little boy, Tolyan is his role model and his teacher, something that an ideal father should be. One important thing that's missing is father's love, and that void is filled up over time with regret, pity, and anger. Too bad that subtitled release of the movie cuts out the last scene that was in the original. It basically shows Sanya today and how his longing for that love chased him throughout the whole life and who he has become in today's Russia.
1 Comment 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
The Thief is a story of a young boy who learns his lessons in manhood from a tough stepfather with a Stalin tatoo, a supposed military man who is really a thief.
The three principal characters, the mother, stepfather, and son, are very convincingly played.
The scenes of life in Russia in the 1950s, from the communual apartments to the bleak landscapes, are magnificent. And the story of this boy's life is compelling.
It's tragic in the classic Russian tradition, but a mesmerizing story and a nice example of quality modern Russian filmmaking.
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By A Customer on February 13, 2004
Format: DVD
This movie is one of my all-time favorites. However, I must say that the last very important scene was deleted in this version of the movie compared to the original Russian version. It is unfortunate since that scene changes the whole moral of the story.
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Format: DVD
The allegory in this film of a Stalin/USSR that the child Sanja must defeat went right over my head. So if you're looking for a deep analysis of the directors' subliminal intentions, I can't help you there. But I can tell you that "The Thief" struck me as the most poignant human drama I've seen since "Gallipolli".
Briefly, a soldier's widow with a young son is won over by Tolya, a striking figure in a Red Army uniform which indeed does gaurd a tattoo of Stalin. Once the widow has learned of Tolya's habitual theft, along with his lack of remorse and empathy for others, she is already caught in his romantic spell. And Sanja, at first terrified of this new man in the family, gradually trusts him more and more. Especially for the innocent child, portrayed in awestruck wonder by Misha Philipchuk, this set-up bodes heartbreak.
And the film does not disappoint in that expectation. This is well visualized when an older Sanja, alone and desperate to find Tolya, stares in disbelief as the latter, finally found, doesn't recognize him and ridicules his salutation of "Daddy"...the very nickname the con-artist had insisted on during their days together.
The most innocent and trusting in this film are prey to those whose only desire is to please themselves....and to use the innocents for that purpose. But except for the child, the "innocent" are not blameless in the scenarios that ensue. Sanja's mother,Katje, sees many signs throughout first scenes of Tolya's true character, in his gruffness and cruelty to others, but she stays with him nonetheless, even to the point of jeapordizing her own life.
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Format: DVD
What gets me about this film is that most assume it`s about the Russian peoples relationship with Stalin. Yes, but that is just scratching the surface. It`s too easy an explanation and it`s wrong to assume that this movie is all about that because it does not explain the message of the movie entirely. More importantly, it is a movie of role models and how they affect us throughout our lives. For me, many people are lost today, they do not know who they are or what they are doing with their lives because their identity of who they are was never formed while growing up. One of the worst forms of child abuse, if not the worst, is to strip that identity or the chance to form that identity from a child. When it is not seen to fruition, everything else goes with it. Your soul, your will, is non-existent. When he shoots the thief he is in fact showing that. The fact that the thief was a bad man is irrelevant, all that matters is that he made an impression on the boy, showed him love and respect, and when he finds later on that the thief rejects him, the other end of the spectrum, which is symbolic of abuse growing up, he feels lost and feels he is 'nothing..nothing'. It`s all about love and how we cannot form into full human beings without being shown the path of love whether that path is bad or good. It`s like being told there is a treasure to be found and some are given a map and some maps are stolen from those who have them. It`s why kids are into ghetto rap despite the drug and gang focus. The message is not important, the identity is, so much so that they don`t care if they get killed. The id is more important as love and acceptance are important above all else.
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