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Film / Kontroll

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Kontroll is a 2003 Hungarian film directed by Nimrod Antal, starring Sandor Csanyi and Eszter Balla. The title refers to the Hungarian word for the act of metro employees checking for tickets. The film focuses on the daily struggles of a group of metro ticket inspectors in a subway system based on (and shot in) the Budapest Metro. They spend their day exploring abandoned tracks, fighting with irate customers, chasing down an elusive graffiti artist, and competing with a rival team of Kontroll agents. He and his fellow inspectors struggle with their jobs because every one of their customers resents them for harassing them in their daily commute. Meanwhile, a serial killer has been stalking the metro pushing customers into the tracks. There's also a woman in a bear suit. You heard us.


This film provides examples of:

  • All There in the Script: You will only find out that the woman in the bear suit is called Szofi (Sophie) by waiting for the credits and looking for the highest-placed woman.
  • Autopsy Snack Time: A version. Ambulance workers talk about a recipe while picking up the remains of a man who has been hit by the subway.
  • Bare Your Midriff: The woman in the opening sequence.
  • Black Comedy: The first half of the movie. The second half is a bizarre thriller full of Mind Screw.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Bulcsu's challenger wets himself after nearly dying from the 'rail running' game
  • Chiaroscuro: When Bulcsu meets Bela after hours. Bela is eating in a dark carriage, lit by a bright portable lamp.
  • Color Wash: Most scenes have a green/yellow cast. This makes the final scene with blue daylight shining down the escalator stand out all the more.
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  • Daddy's Girl: Szofi brings Béla his lunch every day, even though he says she doesn't have to. They clearly have a close, happy relationship.
  • Deadly Game: Bulcsu is challenged to a game of 'rail running' that involves outrunning a train between two stations. At the end of the film, he disposes of the killer using this talent by tricking him into chasing him down a tunnel between two stations and being run over.
  • Distinguishing Mark: Bulcsu's boss has a large, purple/red colored mark around his right eye.
  • Dream Sequence: Szofi wakes Bulcsu and shows him a narrow tunnel leading away from the main tunnel. Bulcsu finds the Pusher at the end. And wakes up.
  • Faceplanting into Food: Muki has a narcolepsy attack while he's having breakfast and faceplants into his fries.
  • Genre-Busting: Kontroll is quite an original film that has elements of thriller, drama and comedy.
  • Goofy Suit: Szofi wears a bear suit in nearly every scene. This is implied to be for her job.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Muki has narcolepsy.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Bulcsu and his team are just inspecting people's tickets because it's their job. But riders will often assault them verbally, and sometimes even physically, and the treat inspectors as some sort of enemy.
  • Honorary Uncle: Bulcsú calls Bela the train driver "Uncle Bela."
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Bela the train driver and Szofi are father and daughter. They have a scene together in which she tells him "You remind me of an angel," and he replies "You should have seen me in my prime!" They laugh.
  • In the Hood: The Mysterious person who has been pushing random people in front of trains disguises himself this way.
  • Mind Screw: The second half of the film delves intro this.
  • Mobstacle Course: People are one of the many obstacles in the way of Bulcsu's gang catching the graffiti artist.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: More of a Delayed Moment of Awesome. Bulcsu's gang are getting warmed up and prepared for a ticket inspection session for the oncoming train. But the train driver accidentally drives too far and the music stops. The train goes in reverse back to the platform and the music starts again.
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: The movie starts with a stiff address by a member of the Metro management complimenting the director's skill but warning people not to take it as an accurate depiction of the system. This was a requirement for the Metro's cooperation with filming.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Bulcsu's gang.
  • Riddle for the Ages: In the second part of the film, Bulcsu finds himself suspected of being the serial killer, and the film hints that he may actually be that crazy. The final confrontation and chase between him and the killer is sufficiently dreamlike in atmosphere, and devoid of reaction from other characters, that it's quite possible to read it as an internal confrontation with an Enemy Within.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: The death of "Bootsie" shows that the movie is getting serious.
  • Shout-Out: In Hungarian, the graffiti artist "Bootsie" is known as "Gyalogkakukk", which is also the Hungarian name of the Road Runner from the Looney Tunes shorts.
  • Slashed Throat: A frustrated train inspector slashes a customers throat after he's been attacked
  • Sinister Subway: The film is full of creepy scenes of the killer stalking passengers and others around grimy and ill-lit subway tunnels.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: maybe. See the entry for Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory on the YMMV tab.