List Film

Khodorkovsky (3 stars)

Disjointed but nonetheless absorbing study of the Russian criminal oligarch


(12) 112min

A detailed and absorbing documentary on Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky which looks at the rise and fall of the businessman amid the bigger picture of the country’s relationship with capitalism. Following a public conflict with Putin, Khodorkovsky was controversially sentenced to jail for tax evasion in 2005.

At the heart of German filmmaker Cyril Tuschi’s film is an impressive array of interviews with those connected to the enigmatic figure. Tuschi speaks to former colleagues, exiled Russian businessmen, family members, even past lovers while employing a variety of techniques including animation, personal narration and footage of bleak Siberian landscapes.

With such a hotchpotch of material Khodorkovsky initially feels disjointed – it’s unclear whether the film is a personal journey to discover the truth behind the man’s current imprisonment or a more traditional attempt at creating a portrait of him. (In truth, it’s a bit of both). And while there’s a need here for a tighter, more coherent execution, as the film progresses, Tuschi manages to weave together the many voices he’s collated to tell what is an undeniably fascinating story about one man’s conflict with Putin and a society that still exists at odds with the West.

Selected release from Fri 2 Mar.



  • 3 stars
  • 2011
  • Germany
  • 111 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Cyril Tuschi
  • Cast: Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Pavel Khodorkovsky, Marina Khodorkovskaya
  • UK release: 2 March 2012

Detailed and absorbing documentary about Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, controversially jailed for tax evasion in 2005. German director Tuschi weaves together an impressive array of interviews and techniques, and while there's a need for a more coherent execution, it's an undeniably fascinating story about one…

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