Cinematych #002: Citizen X & Evilenko

Two films based on ‘the Butcher of Rostov’ Andrei Chikatilo, a serial killer in the Soviet Union.

Citizen X is by far the better of the two, an HBO TV movie, but with a strong cast, tight structure, and no attempt at being showy.

Evilenko, on the other hand, tries to be all Silence Of The Lambs; I mean, the actual story of Chikatilo is grotesque enough.

The strength of the former is that it is firmly grounded in the resource-strapped late Soviet era, where investigators are hamstrung by ideological, bureaucratic refusals to get to grips with a serial killer. The weakness of the latter is that too many tropes of the modern psychological thriller are thrown into the pot, with the result that the true terror of the story is smothered by style, the flavours masked by needless tricksiness.

Comparative casts (Citizen X / Evilenko):

KILLER

Citizen X: Jeffrey DeMunn as Andrei Chikatilo
Evilenko: Malcolm McDowell as Andrei Romanovich Evilenko

INVESTIGATOR

Citizen X: Stephen Rea as Viktor Burakov
Evilenko: Marton Csokas as Vadim Timurovic Lesiev

PROFILER

Citizen X: Max von Sydow as Dr Alexandr Bukhanovsky
Evilenko: Ronald Pickup as Aron Richter

POLICE CHIEF

Citizen X: Donald Sutherland as Mikhail Fetisov
Evilenko: ???

PARTY BOSS

Citizen X: Joss Ackland as Bondarchuk
Evilenko: No analogue

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