Sasha is not like other men. Cursed from birth with an overwhelming power that he has never been able to control, Sasha is a dangerous man prone to violent outbursts, which inevitably end with someone else dead or horribly broken. His rule is the rule of raw survival, of meeting force with greater force and always being the last man standing. In any other world, Sasha would be the villain of the piece rather than the hero. But this is a world where everyone is filled with violence, and Sasha is set apart by more than just his fearsome power: he also has his love for Katya, a woman he meets totally at random and falls powerfully and immediately in love with. It is a romance doomed from the start, and Sasha knows it -- he has no illusions about what he is and what lies in his future, but for at least a brief moment he can imagine and reach for something better in his life. It all, of course, ends in tragedy.
A film unlike any other Philip Yankovskiy's The Sword Bearer takes a premise familiar from the graphic novel Watchmen -- what would it look like if an actual person in the real world were to have superpowers? -- and then plays it surprisingly and compellingly for a purely adult audience. The Sword Bearer is a superhero film for the arthouse set, highly impressionistic with heavy noir overtones, lacing its stunning photography with bursts of shockingly graphic violence all while focusing purely and entirely on the emotional journey of its central character. The temptation is strong to focus on the trail of bodies Sasha leaves in his wake, but if you look there too much you risk missing the real core of the film: the story of a man who has something to lose for the first time in his life, struggling to regain control before it is simply too late.
Director: Filipp Yankovsky
Screenplay: Konstantin Syngayevsky, Yevgeni Danilenko
Cast: Artyom Tkachenko
Producers: Sergei Selyanov, Sergei Dolgoshein