A true piece of junk art, equal parts crude and sophisticated, a faux-naïve crime myth with a protagonist as indelible as Travis Bickle... The thing about Brother is that it’s stubbornly linear, but so suggestive that it just begs for inconclusive allegorical readings: a plot as simple and elemental as dirt, seeded with Freudian overtones, unaddressed nationalist subtexts, and black humor. The good stuff, in other words. Everything looks salvaged or secondhand. In most cases, it was.
The older transformative or humanist-reformist ambitions of Soviet cinema are not only gone, but are actively rejected; and the only pedagogy here involves teaching filmmakers (especially Hollywood-oriented filmmakers) a new way of thinking and working. Indeed, in the film’s central scene, we see Danila attempting to educate the director Styopa, to get him to trust his fearsome audience, without demanding that the audience give up any of its fearsomeness.