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On the edge of a crumbling city, 11-year-old Alexander lives in a sequestered commune alongside other children, their mothers, and charismatic leader, Gregori. Gregori teaches the children how to raise livestock, grow vegetables, work as a community - and how to kill. With the birth of a new baby brother weighing on his mind, Alexander begins to question Gregori’s overpowering influence on the children and their training to become assassins. Threatened by his increasing unwillingness to fall in line, Gregori’s behavior turns erratic and adversarial toward the child he once considered a son. With the two set dangerously at odds and the commune’s way of life disintegrating, the residents fear a violent resolution is at hand.

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Partisan movie full length review - Beware of false prophets......

Gregori, who operates a child assassin patriarch, adopts newborn Alexander after seeing his mother, Susanna, without a partner at a hospital.

Eleven years later, Alexander is now, unbeknown to him, an adept assassin running missions with other children adopted in the same manner.

Gregori tells the children the world is full of terrible men which is why they must carry out their missions, but Alexander becomes more aware of the outside world, and Gregori realises his controlling aura is fading.......

Cults are a funny thing, on one hand, they can be a terrifying aspect of life, Waco comes to mind, and the film that tried to emulate that 'Red State'. On the other, they can be as bonkers as they come, like that bloke a few years ago who recruited a few mentally inept people, telling them there was a shuttle behind a comet that would take them to paradise.........there wasn't.

But they all have one word in common...........sinister.

And this is the reason why the film works in some ways, and in others, it doesn't, because the narrative spoon feeds you the fact that Cassel isn't all what he seems, and he isn't the bohemian saviour the children are led to believe, he's just a business man, plain and simple, and the children are his work tools.

But the narrative doesn't focus on Gregori and his school of Leon's and Nikitas, which would make an interesting film on its own, it focuses more on the hierarchy of the children and their relationship with Gregori, as it appears that Alexander was the first addition to Gregori's 'family', as his mother wears almost managerial clothing as compared to the other mothers.

Cassel is wonderful as the puppet master who's strings are starting to fray, and his on screen relationship with Alexander is as distressing as it is calming. The audience knows that Alexander is becoming aware of Gregori's domination, and know that Gregori too is aware, making the second and third act very intense.

But then, just after the chicken incident, the film loses its way as fast as Gregori loses respect from the family, and it begins to leave a lot of unanswered questions, such as, why did Alexander give Leo the food, and where did Leo and his mother go? Were they killed, sis Alexander subliminally kill them? And what is the purpose of the boy on the hill? An image of realism in Alexander's life?

But the stark imagery is mind blowing, and there are some scenes that could almost represent the films genre as horror.

An oddity for sure, full of vibrancy and angst, but like a headless chicken, loses its way toward the end.