Bad Roads (2020)

91% – Critics

Bad Roads Storyline

Four short stories are set along the roads of Donbas, Ukraine during the war. There are no safe spaces and no one can make sense of just what is going on. Even as they are trapped in the chaos, some manage to wield authority over others. But in this world, where tomorrow may never come, not everyone is defenseless and miserable – and even the most innocent victims may have their turn at taking charge.

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Bad Roads Movie Reviews

How does war transform us?

We’re survivors. In a democratic country with low unemployment and access to health care, it’s easy to have morals or pretend to be noble. Plummeted into poverty and the threat of extinction, we’re more likely to do whatever it takes to live – avoidance, running or fighting.

‘Bad Days’ isn’t about running away. This is about those left behind. It’s appropriate that this is an anthology, four stories showing different angles to devolution in the Ukrainian context of war. The theme may be consistent but tension, or the lack thereof, isn’t. Consequently, I recommend that each be watch individually, at different times over one day or one per day. As short films, they work stronger. And they need to be impactful because ‘Bad Days’ is important.

Part 1: A school headmaster arrives at a checkpoint without his identity document. The frustration at not being able to move freely within one’s own country reminds me ‘200 Meters’ and excellent Palestinian movie released last year. The personal and internal conflict here is meekness versus bravery.

Part 2: Part 1 indirectly introduced the topic of sex during war. Or maybe it’s more precise to state men versus women with the caveat that women are capable of making their own bad choices. Here, a young woman and her grandmother sit at a bullet riddled bus stop, the latter trying to persuade the teen orphan to come home with her instead of pursuing her infatuation with a soldier.

Part 3: This is the most direct and will likely be most viewer’s best segment. A soldier has captured a woman. He claims to enjoy inflicting pain, and enacts it upon her, but he pauses at the possibility of love which suggests he wasn’t an animal before the war.

Part 4: What would you do if you ran over a chicken? And what would you do if you were the chicken’s owner? Are we always who we are, or does poverty devolve us? Although subtle, I found this segmen to be profound.

Director Natalya Vorozhbit has made a strong debut as director. I will seek out her previous screenplay, ‘Cyborgs: Heroes Never Die’, a biopic about the fight for an airport. Whereas that title had previously deterred me, I’m now confident that Vorozhbit chooses nuance and ambiguity over taking a side.

‘Bad Days’ can be appreciated by both Ukrainians and Russians.

More than realistic

This movie shows a war and its impact without any war scene in it. The movie which leaves your silent for a while. Definetily worth seeing.

V Good

Ukraine’s official entry to 2022’s Oscars is a very good anthology film. It consists of four stories that beautifully portray the consequences and suffering of war, without war scenes. Some stories are better than the other that need more development. It’s emotional and powerful although it feels empty at certain points.