Uhh… Can I get back to you on this one? I’m still digesting this film. If you know world building, you create a new world and establish certain rules and laws by which is governed. You do this when you write a fiction novel, like the one that this movie is based upon, you do this when you build a game, like the game the main character in this film designs, and you do this when you create a world for a movie.


A Rough Draft does all this but it doesn’t tell you the rules. So, my main problem here is that I feel I can only do half a review. I don’t have the explanation of how or why things happen or had to happen. I want to believe (yeah I know, X-Files poster quote, woot) that the author goes at great length to explain this on the book. Director Sergey Mokritsky has created the world from writer Sergey Lukyanenko’s science fictions novels. Actually, Sergey Lukyanenko is one of the writers behind this movie so I can’t completely fault the director for all my peeves with the world that is being depicted.

To be fair, it is a quite striking world on the big screen. Steampunk on some parts, tropical beaches on others, idyllically futuristic, gloom-like industrial and all around intriguing. I don’t want everything explained, mind you. I just feel somethings don’t click together. Our main character, Kirill (Nikita Volkov) gets erased out of his existence and push into the role of “customs officer” between worlds.

Also, he’s no longer human because… yeah, I don’t know. He can fight matrix style because… yep, again, not a clue. He must obey the Convention, a rule that states as follows… Who knows, it’s never said. At some point, one of his visitors turns up with Kirill’s ex-girlfriend because… What are you looking at me for? Go look at the nice CGI on the screen and stop asking me questions, tovarish.

The Matryoshka drones might look familiar to Fantasia enthusiasts because Takashi Miike actually had Matryoshka killer dolls along the same lines show up in Fantasia 2016’s As the Gods Will (which is from 2014 actually). For me, they reminded me more of the Portal

Lightly recommended with a lot of reservations for sci-fi enthusiasts who just want some eye candy and no questions. I feel tempted to guess the filmmakers might’ve decided that whoever wanted explanations should read the book. And so, this film as it comes to us feels made for the audience of fans that have already read Lukyanenko’s books. I’m actually curious to how a fan would react to this film.

That will do for now.