As a train weaves its way up to the arctic circle, two strangers share a journey that will change their perspective on life.
‘Compartment No. 6’, a movie from Finnish director Juho Kuosmanen, is a warm-hearted story of two strangers who form a connection with each other when they find themselves sharing a carriage on a train journey from Moscow to Murmansk deep in the Arctic Circle. It is a movie that recalls Richard Linklater’s ‘Before Sunrise’ in that it brings two characters together from different countries (here Finland and Russia, there France and the USA) and different backgrounds, then observes how they start to develop a connection with each other. It’s a warm, funny and well observed movie and it’ll reward your patience in spending time with these characters.
In ‘Compartment No. 6’ the viewpoint we share is that of Laura (Seidi Haarla), a young archaeology student who is travelling to an ancient site of petroglyphs to film them. She is joined in her cabin by Ljoha (Yuri Borisov), an uncouth and initially unfriendly Russian drunk who is travelling on the train to start a new job as a miner. Their initial interactions are not positive and Laura considers abandoning her plan and heading back to Moscow, but finds herself persuaded to stay by her lecturer (who also happens to be her lover). On the long journey that follows, Laura and Ljoha start to find some common ground and unsurprisingly, a romantic attraction soon follows. I liked the performances from both Haarla and Borisov and I felt the way their relationship developed over the course of their journeys felt natural and well realized. I enjoyed the conversations they had and how they used the time they had to talk about their hopes and dreams and how their lives had led them to this point – hard not to see the similarities with ‘Before Sunrise’ I know, but this movie is distinct enough to not feel like a pure carbon copy.
‘Compartment No. 6’ is a compelling movie from director Juho Kuosmanen that finds the beauty in everyday connections, and I found myself really rooting for these characters and finding the way their story panned out to be quite moving.
Directed By: Juho Kuosmanen
Starring: Seidi Haarla, Yuri Borisov, Dinara Drukarova and Julia Aug