Director: Johnny O’ Reilly
Script: Aleksei Kolmogorov & Johnny O’ Reilly
Cast: Sergey Garmash, Vladimir Gusev, Pyotu Logachev, Marina Alexandrova, Alksei Guskev, Anton Shagin
Running time: 80 minutes
Two police detectives are dispatched to a remote weather station in the Russian arctic after two long-standing meteorologists abruptly lose contact with their superiors. When they arrive there the place is deserted, but there are signs that all is not well, and that something is amiss. The older detective and his very ‘green’ assistant slowly un-pick the clues as they try and piece together what has happened.
In between us following the police procedural we also get to see the last days of ‘normality’ (if you can call it that) of the meteorologists going about their business, along with their new cook/assistant, and receiving a couple of visitors who, ultimately, lead to a chain of events that has devastating consequences for everyone at the station.
To write much more about this rather Hitchcockian plot would be to perform a disservice to any readers who fancy watching this film for the first time. What I will say is The Weather Station is an engaging Russian language film, directed by Irishman Johnny O’Reilly, which nicely builds up an aura of menace, that is particularly palpable in the middle act.
I’m a big fan of films set in remote locations, such as the Arctic, the Antarctic and various deserts and wildernesses. Favourites for me are films like The Thing and Dust Devil. I even have a soft spot for the likes of Whiteout and D-Tox. Hence I was looking forward to viewing The Weather Station, if for no other reason than for its bleak setting; and it certainly doesn’t disappoint there. The actual setting is one of the film’s strong points and serves almost as an extra character in the movie. One gets a real sense of the bleakness of the terrain in which the main characters must work.
The characters are pretty well drawn, although there aren’t really any overly sympathetic people in the film, apart from perhaps the young policeman who bumbles along from scene to scene. The meteorologists are an odd lot – there’s the boss who’s a grumpy sod and looks a bit like a Russian version of Brit actor Mark Addy (The Full Monty) and his second in command, Drozdov, the even worse tempered, and unstable, Yeti hunter who likes to shoot carrion birds. And then there’s the young chef, Romash, who seems, at least to begin with, to be the most even-tempered man in the team, but soon shows his true colours when a woman, Irina, is introduced into the mix.
The film is nicely shot, with O’Reilly giving scenes and settings room to breathe, and the music score is suitably low-key and menacing. The acting is all very believable too, in particular the older members of the cast who merrily chew through the snowy scenery with aplomb.
Ending on a decent twist, The Weather Station is worth seeking out, although I have to say I was marginally disappointed by the end result, but that could have been because I was tired when I was watching it and I found the pacing a little too sluggish at times to continually hold my somewhat feeble (at least then) attention.
Simply Media are distributing The Weather Station on DVD. There were no extras on the disc.