(aka The Thief, 1997)

by Tuna

Vor is a Russian-language story told through the eyes of a six-year-old boy. His father, a WW II veteran, died six months before he was born on the side of a dirt road. Life was not pleasant for him and his mother until they met a Russian officer on a train. Before the ride was over, they had united into a makeshift family. The mother and son did not yet realize that they were to be props to facilitate the officer's real job: thief and con artist. His scam was simple: rent a room in a town, give everyone there tickets to the circus, ransack their homes while they are in the big top, and skip town with all of their valuables. While mom was thrilled with him as a lover, she was not happy when she learned his true occupation. Meanwhile, the boy didn't like the thief and didn't always get along with the local kids when they traveled from town to town. Things came to a head when the thief was arrested, which eventually led to a very dark ending.

This is a lovely bit of filmmaking. All of the characters, even the thief, are sympathetic in some ways. Yekaterina Rednikova is adorable as the mother, and the young boy does well with the challenging role.




Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


Highly recommended for arthouse buffs.


  • Yekaterina Rednikova shows her breasts.


The film won just about every Russian film award, and was nominated for the best foreign film Oscar and the parallel Golden Globe.

3 James Berardinelli (of 4 stars)
3 Roger Ebert (of 4 stars)
88 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)


Box Office Mojo. It did fairly well in a mini-arthouse run. It grossed a million dollars in a maximum of 39 theaters.



7.5 IMDB summary (of 10)