“It’s better to be a clown than a slave.” So claims Viktor Toroptsev, a taxi driver and self-described “toothless, terrible Far Eastern savage” who takes on the Russian state on behalf of his decaying homeland of Khabarovsk Krai in the Eastern fringes of the country. It’s a Siberian wasteland which has been all but abandoned by the central government and a sizable proportion of its own people – 22% of the population has left since 1991. Viktor’s one-man rebellion takes the form of a riotously amateurish vlog and Youtube channel, which, after a rocky start, gains in popularity, bringing him to the attention of the authorities. This impressive debut has a boisterous, anarchic energy to match its charismatic but self-destructive subject. — [T]he film, with its sense of barely contained chaos captured through the rattling agitation of the editing, shows how a question mark hovers over the survival of men who find themselves at odds with the Russian government.
Wendy Ide, Screen Daily
Viktor Toroptsev seems an unlikely hero to feature in Far Eastern Golgotha, a documentary about radical grassroots activism in Russia’s Far East. A 30-something taxi driver who describes himself as not very intelligent or educated, Viktor is a chain-smoking, rabble-rousing redneck — [b]ut Viktor is aware of the inequalities of today’s Russia. — [T]his is an interesting and well-observed glimpse into life in a part of Russia that is both majestic and squalid, but never dull.
Nick Holdsworth, Modern Times Review