Kuosmanen has crafted a drama within a clearly defined moment in recent history, only to refuse to be tied to it. This approach to period storytelling proves far more intriguing than the romantic drama within this setting.
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It requires, and ultimately rewards, patience.
The performances, the writing and the direction all conspire to make it feel fresh and specific, and as bleak as the settings may be, it has a delicious black comic streak and shares the buzz of personal re-awakening without ever feeling obvious or cheap. It turns out to be a beacon of warmth amid a frozen wasteland.
As dour as it often seems with its reek of stale booze and cigarette smoke, there’s joy here for patient audiences willing to find it, and to forego the easy consolations of a more conventional outcome.
Compartment No.6 is at its best when it unveils the gap between its characters’ true identities and the parts that they choose to play.
The humdrum and heartswelling Compartment No. 6 evokes a powerful nostalgia for a type of loneliness we don’t really have any more, and for the type of love that was its cure.
Compartment No. 6 is something of a minimalist shaggy dog story, ending on a bittersweet low-key note.
Despite the bone-chilling cold of its location in Murmansk in Russia’s remote north-west, there’s a wonderful human warmth and humour in this offbeat romantic story of strangers on a train.