Russian Movie Recommendation Coma Explained

Russian Movie Recommendation Coma Explained - a fun special effects orgy for the eyes. Definitely lacking in logic or coherence. Still a fun little ride.
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Latest Russian Movie Recommendation Coma. Man, I have got to say, that Russia is crafting some really visually arresting movies lately. Just the other day I talked to you guys about Sputnik, and how cool I thought that particular little Russian movie was. And now, today, it’s Coma (or Koma). Coma, sort of a Russian Inception? Maybe? Could the movie Otherlife be a better comparison? Or maybe even Archive? There really isn’t a great analog for Coma. I mean. It’s almost like some guys that mastered Blender, and Adobe After Effects said… LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!!! We should make a movie out of this coolness. And then hired a writer. And, to be honest, it actually worked if that’s what they did. I remember back in the day when Myst first came out – and I had my hands on a tool called Bryce (anyone out there remember it?) And I was like, I am going to make MYST2!!! I thought I was all that. But these guys over at Big Cinema House seem to have figured it out.

I just have to say, as I have already mentioned before, the special effects here are so gloriously over the top as to sort of set a bar for what is possible. Nikita Argunov – a visual effects artist – makes his feature directorial debut with Coma. That the project is run and directed by a visual effects artist literally drips off of every single frame of this movie. Here, let me show you a little bit of what I mean before we dive into the movie break down. But first, haven’t seen the movie yet?? Check it out right here:

Latest Russian Movie Recommendation Coma Explained
Latest Russian Movie Recommendation Coma Explained
Latest Russian Movie Recommendation Coma Explained

Like I said – this is basically a special effects promo reel from beginning to end. But the film took what Nolan did in Inception as a gag in Paris, and made it a key hinge point on which the entirety of the world is based. Gun battles happen in 360 degree radii. Shooting straight up at people staring down on you from their M.C. Escher vantage point. The whole mechanics of the film is pretty trippy. But kudos to them for making the impossibility of the mechanics work. Now, the mechanics of the actual backdrop working? It actually falls apart in a couple of really key moments. Which is important because it makes the film seem flimsy as tinfoil. But we’ll get to that in due time.

Coma Movie Walkthrough

The movie starts with Viktor (played by Rinal Mukhametov), the Architect, waking in his apartment in Coma. There is a glorious city model on his room’s floor. But soon, he realizes that nothing is normal here. In a photo of him and his girlfriend, his girlfriend (played by Lyubov Aksyonova) Fly, is dematerializing. Decaying through some sort of decaying mold process? But so is his apartment. And the city. Soon he’s attacked by oil monsters, and things only get weirder from here. A group of people come to his rescue, tell him he’s in a coma, that they are all in a coma, and that everyone that goes into a coma eventually comes here to coma world. ??? Yeah, I swear. That’s the story he’s told. (Did I mention that this movie was created by a visual effects guy?) But as far as plots go – I’ve definitely heard of worse.

So, it would seem, these coma patients, all know they are lying in beds somewhere. They know that they are trapped. But worse? They know that if any of these oil monsters get them, they will die in the real world too. And so they endeavor to build a place, or find a place, that is absent all memory. You see, this collective world is a memory induced thought experiment. The places are jumbled because one person remembers that barge from their childhood, here, and someone else remembers it over there. And out of this collective mismash of memories, we are provided this interconnected, fragmented hellscape of a reality. But here’s the trick. The oil monsters… they can only get to locations that are communally remembered, which then provides a bridge. So the team is constantly trying to find a location that is safe. Separate. They can blow up land bridges to the location, but they only stay islanded off for a little while. So Coma world is perilous – but the fun bit is that they all have their little super hero skills based on their time in the real world. So, yay super powers!!! I guess?

But the group can’t figure out what Viktor’s super power is. They shoot him with tin-cans. (???) They beat on him with sparring bots. They put him in stressful situations and see what he does under fire. But basically, he just cowers and stresses. And that is even though he thinks Fly is super cute, and he’s interested in her. But then, one day, when a squad is out trying to retrieve explosives from a torpedo in a submarine, reapers come, and the Architects saves them by building a ramp that catches, and ferries the explosive down to the group safely. AH! He can build stuff. Got it. I mean, he was an architect in the real world after all. Brilliant. So great, glad we got that figured out finally.

Yan, the leader of this rag tag group of coma survivors (played by Konstantin Lavronenko), is determined that they will build their Promised Land, if only they can imagine it into being, instead of remembering it. Remembering the locations causes bridges – REMEMBER? (See what I did there? Come. ON! I so regularly deliver for you the reader. And I get so little recognition! Man. Anyway.) But if they could build it from scratch. Whole Cloth? It’d be the perfect world! No one would ever have to worry about going back to the real world! But as they head out to go create this new life for themselves, they are attacked by the reapers, and mid-flee, the Architect wakes up.

Latest Russian Movie Recommendation Coma Explained

Wait, what? So yeah, this is where we finally get Viktor’s backstory, and the most interesting screenplay writing in the entire movie. So, apparently, Viktor, an aspiring, and brilliant, architect, isn’t able to make ends meet. No one wants his designs. He’s struggling. It’s causing duress in his relationship with his girlfriend, etc etc. But he is contacted by the leader of a religious cult to come out and show off his designs. So he and his girlfriend go. Viktor goes into the compound, and his girlfriend waits.

While inside, Viktor learns something crazy. This cult, run by Yan (coincidentally enough), is actually a medical “innovator”, that created this Coma-Communal space. Yan needed money to pay for his research, so he created a religion (“It was easier than you would imagine.”) Then he took individuals from society, the infirm, the outcast, the lost souls, and tested his theories on them… inserting them into Coma. But come to find out, they liked life better in Coma than outside. They didn’t remember their lives outside, or how bad they were, but super powers man! Regardless, he offered to show Viktor around inside Coma, but he declined. Viktor and his girlfriend ran, had a car accident with an oncoming semi, and found themselves (sans memories) inside Coma. (His girlfriend being Fly, of course.) And now we know how the movie started off as it did. Get it? An architect refuses to work for psycho, and as a result, he and his girlfriend are forceably injected into a coma-hellscape. Phew. Glad I got that squared away! Did you get that squared away? Let’s hope we are all on the same page now. Though, I wouldn’t be too surprised if we aren’t. It’s literally a mess. But DANG! Those visuals.

So Viktor is out – he’s clear on what happened in the world, even if we aren’t. And Yan tells him, look, you’ve left your girlfriend behind. You know, the one who is about to leave you because you can’t get a job? Her? And she’s about to become brain dead due to the incoming reapers… So Viktor agrees to go back in, take a magic elixir that increases his super powers in Coma, and build Yan his secret city in the clouds. And after that, Yan agrees to let the Architect and Fly go. PROMISE. But he crosses his fingers behind his back, and tells the medical assistant shut down their breathing assistance at a certain moment. (How this moment was clear is an issue though…)

Coma Inconsistency Problems

Look, as an indie film, I’m going to give Argunov all the grace in the world. The acting was meh, but I’ll give them that. The story is incoherent, but i’ll give them that. The action is a hodgepodge of cliches and stolen ideas. Ok. Fine. But, when screenplay authors can’t be bothered to make their stories make sense logically throughout the span of 90 minutes, I have ZERO patience.

So let me see if I can wade through the logical morass momentarily and see if we can make sense of a few laws that govern Coma. First law is that time runs at “about 100 to 1” analogue to the real world. Ok? This is LITERALLY a quote from Yan the creator of the world. I’m not making this up. So, that is why we get the mention that Fly is entered into Coma first, and she is well established when the Architect finally arrives. Ok. Well done. It gives us a clever twist when we find out that Fly is the Architect’s girlfriend in the real world. Clever. I dig (dug?) it.

But when the group is running from reapers in a field, and the Architect bounces to the surface to dialog with Yan et al. uh, hello? He spends maybe like what? 30 minutes in the real world? He’s ultimately convinced to go back. And when he arrives back – over 2 days should have passed. 50 hours to be a little more precise… give or take. But what happens? He arrives just as the reapers are arriving on their position there in the field. WHAT? All they had to do was pin a note on the nearby shed, rock, or whatever… BEEN WAITING, YOU BAILED… we retreated back to our old hideout. (Ok, so that would be stupid.) Or, maybe better, would be signs of their digging in, and taking up defensive positions. Digging a foxhole, they are starving… something? Show us the passage of time somehow. Or maybe place reaper bodies all around them. “WE’VE BEEN WAITING TWO DAYS!!! WHERE DID YOU GO!??!?!” Simple as that. But no.

Another example of this… after Viktor comes back, meets up with his cohorts, he builds the City on a Hill. And then members of the group just start dissolving, and dying. Why? Well, because they were all dying of hypoxia. We get the first one dying, then right on the heels of one, another dies. But think about it, it probably takes a minute or two to shutdown a person’s life support systems in the real world, then move over to the next person. And then, it would have taken a few minutes for the hypoxia to kill them. But everything is multiplied by a hundred remember? So even if it is just a flip switch, and then walking around the bed, it’s still a solid minute. Or even 30 seconds. 30 seconds in the real world is – wait for it… FIFTY minutes in Coma-land. Christopher Nolan’s Inception is nothing if not fanatically logical with its time management systems. Very fanatical. But here we have just one big massive logical fallacy after another.

Coma Ending Explained

I can’t really piece it all together because the logic is so flawed. But I can tell you what the movie is telling us happened. After the first couple people die to hypoxia, Viktor realizes that the backdoor to getting in and out is already clear to him. In their rooms, when they take up sleeping in Coma, they each grow images of their dreams. Viktor realizes that all he has to do to get out is to walk into his dream image. He finds recognizable locations (the images of Egypt are our tip off) and walks out through that location, and he awakens. Ok, clever, Yan told them not to go near those images in the beginning (because you’ll get lost in them and never get out again). Consistent, and clever. Got it. Now, another time inconsistency: Viktor exists Coma, realizes Fly is dying too. So he pulls out her breathing tube, which wasn’t feeding her air anymore, and then she wakes up. WHAT? Is that how comas work? No. I’m not a medical doctor, but no. It isn’t. But whatever. Did you see the visuals though?!?

As the movie ends, we learn that Viktor has started doing much more normal architecture… you know, apartment buildings… you know, the square kind? Yeah. And good for him too because now he has a job! Someone bought his last designs. And now Fly loves him! She’s not leaving! Thank goodness. But, it would appear that Yan and company got off free after no one agreed to testify against him. (Um?) And by the way, today he got another invite from Yan and his cult to come back??

First problem here is why didn’t our moral hero testify against Yan and his terrible treatment of the downtrodden, and of the murdered? Think about it. Yan took handicapped individuals, suicidal individuals, the mentally unstable, and assumed no one would miss them. He then abducted them mentally by putting them in hospital beds, dropping them into comas, and then murdered them by depriving their brains of oxygen. The only two survivors of this cranage were the Architect and the Fly. Don’t they have a moral expectation to testify??!? Our heroes aren’t much of a hero to look up to apparently. Worse, Viktor is considering going back. His normal world isn’t normal enough for him apparently.

Alright, I think the rest of my next 3 theories will be reserved for my Patreon subscribers. (To whom I owe a huge debt and honor. Thanks for joining me on this awesome ride together.) Of which, my theory that Coma is actually just a furtherance of the Soviet Union’s bigotry against those with physical disabilities is my favorite. But what are your theories about what is happening in the movie Coma? I’d like to hear about them in the comments.

Alright, let’s have some fun with this movie – shall we? I love pouring an espresso and conjecturing about what it is that the authors might just be reaching for with their stories. Could this Russian story have a few different ways that it could be interpreted?

Coma as Moral Retreat

I’ve always wondered what Nolan was going for when he devised his world of Inception. Worlds of the mind that allowed people to live nearly forever. A place that allowed dreamers to escape the pain and moral constraints of the real. Could that be what Yan is going for with his creation of his Coma world? We already know that he has admitted he is looking to extend his life indefinitely (well, 100x increase is an enormous increase, if not infinite). Is it a moral question? Yan has created his religion already to fund his world of Coma. Is it also a question about unrestrained moral license? I don’t think that is reading into the movie at all to see that there. It is that human desire to be master’s of their own fate… gods. Humans have been struggling in their desire to come out from under this constant moral constraint since Adam and Eve left the garden. Could Coma could just be one more way in which man is desperately trying to thumb its nose at God?

Coma’s Commentary on Medical God Complex Issues

Or what if Yan is just a metaphor, and a philosophical question mark about the God-Complexes found so often in the medical community? Doubt its much different between Russia in the east and America in the west. Doctors readily overstep their bounds. (Your honor, I would like to present to you as evidentiary examples #1 & #2 the podcasts Dirty John, and Dr. Morte. Please and thank you.) Have you heard about those studies about doctors that refuse to wash their hands because of their belief that they are above germs, and spreading disease.

Coma Seen Through the Lense of Communism

Nazi Germany is guilty of enormous crimes against humanity, granted. But so to was Stalin and the communist party of the Soviet Union. Prior to the Boshevik Revolution, generally speaking, mentally ill, and handicapped individuals were generally seen as holy fools. Many would travel in groups, and perform, and society would look down kindly on them. In time, the church stepped up, and began creating welfare reforms in order to protect them and care for them. But after the Revolution, the creation of the Soviet state, the communists would classify those with disabilities as those who had lost the ability to work. You know, the citizens who were “invalidnost”… I mean, if you can’t work in a Soviet state, then what good were you? It even got so bad that war veterans, injured and hurting from the war, were shuffled home, and kept out of the spotlight intentionally. Soviet society would even go so far as to forcefully deport injured war veterans from the city – and out to labor camps – in an effort to avoid the view that Soviet Russia was unable to provide for its needy veterans. But Russian communism’s desire was to be seen as the great healer and provider for the people.

Viewing Coma from more of an eastern view, could Coma be a cover for the Russian Utopia that never came? A provider of the infirm and the dejected? We see that Yan has selected the cast offs, the disparaged, as his holiest of holies… the elects as it were, for his City on a Hill?

I could spin this movie 97 ways to sunday. Who knows what is happening here? What are you theories as to what is happening?