March 16, 2003 by AK
Of all the four front-row characters in Birthday Girl, the English fiancé looks the most Russian. Yes, you can find types like that among bank clerks and even computer programmers in Moscow. I thought only Russians wear short sleeves with suit jackets.
The French actors playing the two Russian thugs are convincing as small-time crooks — but not as Russian gangsters of respectable stature. The French couple are dubbed pretty well in the original movie — they sound genuinely Russian but not like Russian career criminals or Mafia types. At least, not the way mobsters speak and act in Russian TV series. Dark should have been cursing more emphatically to claim a criminal record. Just minor racketeers – who else would wear a long leather overcoat over a naked torso with sweatpants?
Kidman’s Russian dubber, apart from having not the most pleasant voice, speaks like an educated Russian girl from a good family. A professor’s daughter. It’s almost inconceivable how and why she would have got herself into the company of those scumbags — and fallen in love with the dirtier one. Were they big-time, high-flying mafiosi, that would be understandable: they met at a cocktail party, etc. Also, Russian women don’t roll their eyes upward very often unless they are young enough to have learned the trick from American movies.
But otherwise, Kidman is believable, even though she’s too kidman-ish to pigeonhole her socially in her role as a Russian girl.