MOSCOW — As Moscow’s legendary chandeliered underground fills with water, thousands of terrified commuters flee through flooded tunnels in a disaster movie that has topped Russia’s box office.
The film, titled simply “Metro”, depicts what might happen if Moscow’s Stalin-era underground system, which last year carried more than two billion passengers, sprung a leak from the Moscow River flowing above it and a speeding train crashed into a wall of water. Filmed in a genuine metro system —albeit in the Volga city of Samara, not Moscow — the film looks disturbingly realistic, from the boxy blue carriages to the clunky monitoring equipment that simply loses all contact with the train.
“Can you imagine what’s going on down there?” asks one petrified employee. The film topped Russia’s box office in its first weekend, comprehensively beating action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comeback movie “The Last Stand”. It has now earned $9.7 million, according to preliminary figures released by Variety Russia magazine.
The film’s budget totalled $13 million, including a $6 million grant from a state fund designed to promote national cinema. The real Moscow metro is rich with legend, from the giant cockroaches that allegedly roam its tunnels to secret lines said to lead from the Kremlin. Its ornate decor includes talismans such as the bronze dog at the central Revolution Square station whose nose has been rubbed bright by constant pats for luck. More info