Here’s proof that movies made for TV can be phenomenal. Yes, this is one of those movies with a cheap-looking cover and budget-vibe, and yes there are some stupid elements in it (like the backwardness of the Soviet Union is exaggerated) but the rest is just perfect. First off, great cast, Stephen Rea and Donald Sutherland did their jobs perfectly, and to sweeten the deal we have Max von Sydow. Based on a true story of a serial murderer Andrei Chikatilo, Citizen X provides you with the opportunity to see how serial killers operate in Russia and how the law enforcement tries to catch them. This would be just another standard-issue serial killer flick, much like Drifter: Henry Lee Lucas, if the story was about a standard-issue serial killer. Andrei Chikatilo is nothing like that. He’s one of the most prolific, brutal and sickening criminals of the twentieth century and the very fact that he operated in Soviet Union, where such crime was deemed impossible by the state that controlled everything, is cause for interest. I will leave the link to his wiki page after the review, so you can read up on this asshole.

Citizen X [1995] Movie Review Recommendation PosterAs the machines are working on a small collective farm in Soviet Union, they uncover something horrible. Eight bodies of various sizes in various stages of decomposition have been discovered and soon it is clear that this is going to be one hell of a case. Viktor Burakov, a forensic specialist working with the police department is determined to get to the bottom of this case. However, it is the year of our lord Stalin 1982 and the wheels of justice in Soviet Union are turning really slowly. Meanwhile, unknown killer is continuing his killing spree.

Because they wanted to stay true to the material and not make this movie into some spectacle, the cinematography will dazzle you only occasionally. For example, that opening scene was pretty heavy and you can clearly see that they are capable of creating excellent material. Based on a Robert Cullen’s book The Killer Department, released in 1993, Citizen X features phenomenally written characters. They are deep and realistic and written in such a way that it enables us, the viewer, to analyze where the things might have gone wrong and why some character is acting the way it is. This is especially true for Chikatilo, but I will that for you to discover. Finally, we also get a glimpse into the life behind the Iron Curtain in the eighties. The infamous bureaucracy that’s stifling everything and accepted pyramidal ruling structure were accurately portrayed, for most of the time.

Director: Chris Gerolmo

Cast: Stephen Rea, Donald Sutherland, Max von Sydow, Jeffrey DeMunn

Fun Facts: Never released theatrically, only on DVD after TV premiere.


IMDb Link:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.