© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
2006 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
TWO PLAYERS FROM THE BENCH
(Dva Igrača S Klupe)

It generally can be said that filmmakers from the Balkan region
have a dark sense of humor. At least it may seem that way to American
audiences who have been gifted with several pitch black comedies from
the region (e.g.,
CABARET BALKAN/THE POWDER KEG, the Oscar
winner
NO MAN'S LAND). Similar to that vein is TWO PLAYERS FROM
THE BENCH (Dva Igrača S Klupe)
from writer-director Dejan Šorak.

 The film unfolds a bit slowly. A group of men are sitting outside
drinking and singing protest songs when a man (Tarik Filipovic) signals
to a husky man (Goran Navojec) and, as they say in
THE GODFATHER,
"makes him an offer he can't refuse." While driving to a rural outpost,
the car is stopped and searched by the police. When the trunk is opened
and reveals another man (Borko Peric) bound and gagged inside, the
official doesn't bat an eye and waves the driver on his way.

 The two men are put in a sort of holding cell complete with a computer,
television and a refrigerator stocked with beer. It turns out that the larger
man is a Croat and the other is a Serb. The latter is under the impression
that his organs -- specifically his kidney -- is to be harvested. It turns out
that there's something even more cynical and diabolical at work.

 Basically, the two have been brought together because of their
uncanny resemblances to two colleagues of a war criminal facing
charges at The Hague. The two men, who discover they were on
opposing sides during the recent conflicts, also discover that they share
a common bond in their love for volleyball. Although traditionally
enemies, the pair forge a friendship that blossoms the deeper they
get into their predicament.

 Šorak directs with a sure hand and the main actors deliver
spirited performances. The humor may be dark, but there's an
undercurrent of tragedy as well.
TWO MEN FROM THE BENCH
currently does not have a US distributor. Hopefully, one will
pick it up during its run at Tribeca so that this terrific movie can
reach a wider audience.

  
                  Rating:                B+