American-Russian Kirill Mikhanovsky’s “Give Me Liberty” all-too-subtly opened last Friday. I was not aware that it had even opened until I ran across Manhola Dargis’ excellent review of the film for the New York Times.
Last January at Sundance, I had written this capsule review of the film:
“Vic, a medical transport driver in Milwaukee, is already late and needs to pickup a wide array of clients all over the city and to make matters worse? It happens to be the same day many roads are closed due to a scheduled political protest. Taking place during the span of 24 hours, “Give Me Liberty” has Vic not only trying to shuttle his “regulars” during one tumultuous day of chaos, but also having to bring his Russian grandfather and émigré friends to a local funeral. This new route to help out grandpa uproots his other scheduled clients, particularly Tracy (Lauren “Lolo” Spencer), a vibrant young woman with ALS and rowdy boxer Dima (Maxim Stoyanov). As the day deteriorates from erratic to near-disastrous, the collective ride shared between this inclusive cast of characters becomes not only a pleasantly-delivered dramatic and comedic experience, but a damn-near, compassionate one as well. Filled with rich multicultural clashes and an abundance of good hard-heartedness, director Kirill Mikhanovsky’s movie is an antidote to our toxic dog-eat-dog world of negativity. What gives “Give Me Liberty” its resounding feel-goodness is its depiction of a part of America which is rarely depicted about at the movies, one in which there is ample opportunity to get along and for a healthy community to take shape. Yes, Mikhanovsky does strain in trying to stuff as many characters as possible into his road movie, but, despite the messiness, there is never an unearned second in this quirky and well-made little film.”