Saturday, January 4, 2020

The Russian Sparta

“Sparta” is an eight-episode Russian TV series, produced in 2018 and available on Netflix with subtitles.  It is very dark, and Russians do “dark” better than Americans.  There are a lot of flashbacks, but I guess they were all well done for I never lost track despite not being completely sure I wanted to watch the entire seties. 

The two main characters are Bark (Barkovsky) who intends the video-game Sparta to advance his ideas of Hitler-type Eugenics, and Kryoko, a police detective who pursues the mystery of a murder qua suicide.  Bark advances his Sparta scheme while Kryoko, despite struggling with the effects of a stroke, doesn’t pause until he has unraveled everything.  He is framed by Bark and Bark’s girlfriend and spends three years in prison.  When he gets out he wants to find out what became of everyone during the time he was in prison.  Bark’s idea of eugenics hasn’t worked, but Bark doesn’t care.  He is settling for power and money.   Kryoko is no longer a policeman nor likely to become one again, but he is inexorable and deals with Bark on his own authority.

I have watched Sparta just once, and my current understanding probably doesn’t do it justice, and it is so dark that I hesitate to watch it a second time.  Kryoko limps about, refusing to take the medication prescribed to counter-act the effects of his stroke.  He conceals his paralyzed hand and struggles with his left eye and leg.  In my case I haven't had a stroke, but do have a broken knee-cap in my right leg, but pursuing Sparta a second time probably won’t do it any good.   Kryoko, on the other hand, walks and sees much better after his three years in prison and his exacting of judgment against Bark,  He stalks off looking self-assured and in good health -- but then he is Russian and I am not.

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