The fictional Platon is a master of disguise, mood, and manipulation, as would be, we surmise, anyone moving in such dark and dangerous circles. He emerges from this maelstrom in one piece thanks in no small part to his charisma, played up fabulously by Mashkov, a handsome and talented actor who exudes what one reviewer calls “reptilian charm” (there is no better description). Detailing the plot might dissuade you from seeing the film, so I’ll just say that events do not unravel chronologically and, despite some half-hearted attempts, Platon’s love life remains secondary to his financial profile. Nevertheless, the political implications of his rise to prominence and its rather minor subplots are not nearly as interesting as Platon’s own maneuvering, inevitable betrayal, and apotheosis – a story which, in the end, should sound extremely familiar. Are the characters three-dimensional? No, and for a very good reason: although one-man shows sometimes feature guest performers, these sidekicks only get billing far from the center and in very small print. Tycoon is a upsized, occasionally preposterous tribute to one and only one of those magnates; everyone else is only important insofar as they help him achieve his goal.
Unfortunately, nothing co-opts the spry and creative mind more than monetary success. Even the wildest of imaginations considers, at least for a few moments, the life of material wealth and the ease and comfort such a life brings. There is nothing wrong with ambition, nor with money per se; but when the goal of life and work and all your hours and minutes becomes a relentless hunt after greater and greater fortune, perspective on life’s best offerings is soon lost. What Platon’s perspective is on the matter may be hard to say, because one gets the distinct impression that he really thinks of himself as some kind of artist. And what you think of this tycoon, an oligarch in the original Russian, may reflect what you think of the new Russian revolution. But then you may think of other riches – a live filled with goodness, love, laughter, curiosity, learning, and selflessness – and smile. And you may gladly cede those outlaw desires to the Platon Makovskys and Charles Foster Kanes of the world.
* Note: Berezovsky ostensibly took his own life on March 23, 2013.