Possibly his best film, certainly his most significant, this tragicomic epic allegory about Yugoslavia's troubled 50-year trajectory simultaneously crowned and crippled Emir Kusturica's previously meteoric career... Tragedy replayed as farce (Kusturica's favourite mode), it has a thematic and visual audacity (communism as a cellar, a postmodern take on the 'red western', the float-away wedding party) that compensates for its hectic overload.
Emir Kusturica’s greatest achievement, an epic satire that takes on a full half-century of Balkan history. . . . UNDERGROUND is filled with rollicking comic set pieces, gloriously outsized characterizations, and near-constant marching band music—it feels as much like party as it does a film. Kusturica has been compared often to Federico Fellini, yet there’s a sense of formal control underscoring the chaos here that’s arguably beyond anything the Italian director achieved.
Emir Kusturica establishes the freewheeling tone of Underground from its opening seconds, with the film roaring into life on the boisterous din of a brass band that doesn't so much march through Belgrade's streets as it sprints through them while blaring its music in an accelerated triple-time whirl. . . . The manic intensity of this opening stretch prefigures a film that maintains its sense of sweeping, grandiose farce even as the action narrows.