Acid (Aleksandr Gorchilin, 2018)


What’s This All About?

A young man learns the hard way that it is not the same dropping acid than drinking acid.

In Brief

People are stupid. Especially the youths. They practice balconing and consume flesh-eating zombie drugs known as Krokodil just because--why anyone would consume something with that name in the first place is beyond me. The main characters in Acid are stupid as well and don’t think before they act: one young man jumps out of a window because a friend casually tells him to, another one drinks acid just to see how it tastes, and that same guy confesses a murder he didn’t commit because he feels the need to be punished.

Aleksandr Gorchilin’s debut film Acid follows two twenty-year-old dispirited men into a journey of self-destruction where every decision they make is more damaging than the previous one. Sasha (Filipp Avdeev) and Petya’s (Aleksandr Kuznetsov) erratic actions might come from guilt and recklessness, but the movie implies that this wayward behaviour is the result of a patriarchal, discouraging society. A father is desperate to cry but doesn’t because it’s not socially acceptable, and Sasha beats a man in front of his mother to show her how masculine he is. Towards the end, Petya tells Sasha their main problem is that they have no problems at all when their actual issue is that they don’t realise they even have one.

These random acts, though, are not enough to support a far-fetched screenplay with several inconsistencies. The movie completely loses its way in its final act where the story mistakes social alienation for murderous psychosis. Acid is a brave but overall superficial production that deals with controversial subjects such as abortion, underage sex, drug consumption and homosexuality in a country where all of this is highly condemned. While the movie is not as open about homosexuality as it would have liked it to be, the subtext is clear enough to make it a compelling feature.