A professional duelist in 19th-century Russia has second thoughts about his profession when he meets the beautiful sister of a future opponent, in this handsome historical epic. This deceptively glossy production is also a highly proficient and effective epic set in 19th-century Czarist Russia. It focuses on a handsome, ruthless protagonist who is a professional duellist at a time when the nobility settled disputes and slights against honour by taking up swords or pistols against each other in highly regulated rituals. There was a strict code of behavior applied to the practice of duelling; one rule was that a substitute was allowed, another was that nobles would fight only fellow nobles. Both conditions are central to this film's narrative. Returning to Saint Petersburg after a long exile, the dashing Yakovlev, a retired army officer, makes a comfortable living by winning other people's duels. An enigmatic, focused, and extremely skilled professional, he leaves a trail of dead bodies behind him as he swirls through polite society, frequently called upon to wield a pistol as a surrogate in duels at dawn. But when Yakovlev meets the naïve young Prince Tuchov and his beautiful sister, Princess Martha, the normally cold-hearted mercenary is surprised by hitherto undetected emotions.
Directed by : Alexey Mizgirev
Written by : Alexey Mizgirev
Starring : Pyotr Fyodorov, Vladimir Mashkov, Yuliya Khlynina, Pavel Tabakov, Martin Wuttke, Franziska Petri, Yuri Kolokolnikov, Sergey Garmash, Aleksandr Yatsenko
Produced by : Alexander Rodnyansky, Sergey Melkumov
Distributed by : Columbia Pictures