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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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Somehow the gods of the internets yesterday led me by the hand down the path of gruesome goth porn sites with scene-of-crime photographs taken of ‘Rostov Ripper’ Andrei Chikatilo‘s victims. Pleasant it was not. 😦

Anyway, here’s a young Ukrainian lad discovering a corpse in Citizen X, the excellent HBO film based on the investigation into Chikatilo’s horrific crimes, by way of al fresco urination.

Serial killer Andrei Chikatilo (Jeffrey DeMunn) is faced with the psychological profile of him written years before by shrink Dr Alexandr Bukhanovsky (Max von Sydow) in HBO’s tremendous TV movie Citizen X.

…The adolescence of such a person is as a rule painful, because he [is often] subjected to [the] laughter and humiliation [of] his peers, and at a time when success among them is the subject of his secret dreams.

His pastimes are unusually passionate. Sometimes individual sports, sometimes musical instruments.

His sexuality is not noticeable to [those] around him.