Country: Greece / others
Movie Review: “Stratos”, best film at Thessaloniki film festival, is a solid crime thriller whose title is the name of its main character, a solitary man who served years in prison after he has murdered the men who messed with his girl. While in jail, he became the protégé of the feared inmate, Leonidas, a former mafia leader who saved his life. Now enjoying freedom again, Stratos operates secretively as a hitman for someone close to Leonidas during the daytime while at night he works in a baking factory to maintain the appearances. Despite being warned in relation to Leonidas’ brother, Yorgos, he ends up deceived while continues to finance a risky plan for digging a subterranean tunnel that was supposed to take Leonidas out of the prison. In a parallel front, Stratos will try everything to prevent a little neighbor girl from falling into the hands of the new mafia shark, Petropoulos, as a form of paying a debt owed by her negligent parents, Vicky and Maki. Petropoulos and his haughty wife also keep trying to persuade Stratos to join their dirty clan. This bleak portrait of a cold assassin is earnest and implacable, raising a moral issue that disappears during the final act when the killer opts for a righteous move. Respectful filmmaker Yannis Economides creates a remorseless character whose sense of doom becomes strongly outlined from the time he decided to do something right in his miserable life. Notable actor Vangelis Mourikis was the perfect vehicle for his intentions, in their third collaboration after “Soul Kicking” and “Knifer”. Clearly influenced by film noir dramas, the well-balanced “Stratos” holds onto a mood that is closer to Mellville’s “Le Samourai” than Corbijn’s “The American”.