Arrhythmia is a romantic drama examining the lives of the young married couple; Katya and Oleg. Oleg is a paramedic played by Aleksandr Yatensko, whilst his wife Katya, played by Irina Gorbacheva, works as a nurse in the emergency hospital. The young couple together battle alcoholism, work-life in the medical field, and a drowning relationship, as they strive to find what will bring their love back to life.
Below, you can watch a trailer for Arrhythmia, shared by TIFF Trailers, as well as a synopsis, and analysis of the film. It is currently available on Amazon Prime TV with English subtitles.
The film Arrhythmia begins with Oleg attempting to treat a hypochondriac elderly women for symptoms she does not have. She states that she has heart attacks every day, but Oleg and his partner have never been able to find anything wrong with her over the several trips they have made. Oleg resorts to giving her what he claims is a piece of nanotechnology he smuggled from Germany to put underneath her tongue. This initial scene is the first to display that Oleg does not always abide by the rules set for him.
The scene shifts to Katya walking through the park attempting to find Oleg to pick her up after her shift at the hospital. After finding Oleg, it is evident that he and Katya share what appears to be a boring, and non-communicative relationship. Instantly after Katya gets into the car, she can tell Oleg has been drinking, and sarcastically asks him if he was still going to drive and making it obvious to the audience that it is not a first time occurrence. Katya drives and Oleg urges her to stop at the nearest store so he can get more alcohol. Katya does not deny this request, and Oleg makes his purchase. After getting back into the car, Oleg is in such a rush to open his drink that he spills it all over himself. However, he proceeds to drink the rest.
Oleg and Katya finally arrive to Katya’s parent’s home, to celebrate her father’s birthday. The entire family is set around an outside dinner table giving toasts, and celebrating her father. Meanwhile, Oleg is getting sloppy drunk, using vodka for his toasts rather than wine like the rest of the family. Mikhail, Katya’s father, tells Oleg repeatedly to go lie down, but he refuses. Katya interjects, telling her father they will leave if he does not stop ordering Oleg around. It is clear that Katya wants to protect Oleg, but it is also seen that she has also had enough of his drunken actions.
After the family finishes dinner, and the cake is prepared, Katya goes to smoke a cigarette. At the same time, she texts Oleg that she wants a divorce. Oleg then goes to lie down in the spare bedroom, and Katya comes to talk with him. Oleg is shocked that Katya would ask for a divorce over text, but Katya states that she believes Oleg does not love her. After mild arguing, Oleg reaches for a drink again. Katya makes it clear that her decision is final, that they will get a divorce.
The following scenes are rather repetitive. Oleg is spending his days working with his paramedic partners, attempting to help people as much as he can. It is clear that when he brings a woman to the hospital for what he suspects is a heart attack, and the nurse tells him it is not, he is very head strong in finding out what is truly wrong with his patients. It seems everyone around him is trying their best to move patients out as fast as they can. Katya on the other hand, stays working day and night shifts at the hospital.
Katya and Oleg, even though they will get a divorce, still share an apartment. However, Katya ordered Oleg to sleep on a blow up mattress in the kitchen. Still, Oleg is set on not getting a divorce, and in his way, attempts to show Katya that he loves her. However, many of these actions are done while in a drunken state, and Katya simply does not believe him.
Oleg and his work partners are given the news that their boss will be replaced. When the new boss arrives, there are many new rules set into stone. These rules essentially entail that the paramedics will work as fast as possible, and go to calls as they are ordered to. For Oleg, these rules mean nothing. He is simply focused on helping the people he comes across, as best as he can. One particular day, this goes terribly wrong. Oleg and his partner are at a house helping an elderly women regain her breathing. Meanwhile, his partner receives a radio call that they need to go to the next house. Oleg yells to the person on the radio they are not leaving the lady until she can breathe correctly again, and is not at risk. Far later, Oleg and his partner arrive to the next call, where the patient had already passed away. Oleg is screamed at by a family member of hers that he is a murderer.
Altogether, Oleg is having troubles with balancing his personal morality, his work responsibilities, and his relationship with Katya. He even moves out of the apartment for a little while, onto the street in order to make Katya happy that he is no longer there. Katya however, not wanting him to be on the street in the cold, asks him to come back.
Katya and Oleg’s coworkers have a party in which they dance and sing. Katya turns on a song that appears to remind both Oleg and her of their love when they first met. After the party, Oleg and Katya get intimate with one another. Oleg is making jokes, and picking at Katya that she might be pregnant now. Katya reveals that she has an IUD, a very effective type of birth control implant. This seems to trouble Oleg very much, as he leaves and moves his air mattress back into the kitchen, so as not to sleep with Katya.
The following day, Oleg and his partner receive a call where they must save a girl that was electrocuted and burned. As they arrive, the girl is not responding at all to treatment, and continues to not breathe. Oleg makes the decision to make an incision that will allow her to breath until she gets to surgery. However, this call was not his to make. Oleg later goes to visit the girl’s mother in the hospital, and ask how she is doing. The doctors state that the girl might not make it, not because of the fire, but because she lost too much blood from the incision made by Oleg. Oleg’s boss comes to talk with the mother of the girl, essentially threatening her not to sue them for Oleg’s actions. Oleg interferes telling him it is not the time or place, and that her daughter is dying. His boss takes him to a stairway and physically abuses him.
Oleg in complete misery with his work, and home life, returns to his apartment only to breakdown in tears. Katya’s attempts to talk to him only make him run out of the apartment. Katya then chases him, but he disappears. Oleg returns the next morning, finally ready to talk to Katya, and tell her that he loves her, and never would want to lose her. The two reunite, and she embraces him telling him that they will stay together.
Arrhythmia can be said to be more of a romantic “chick flick”, as it is solely centered around the couple going back and forth with their differing ideas regarding their relationship. While the plot stayed consistent throughout the film, it was also very repetitive. Day by day, the situation was nearly the same, with the exception of the beginning, and ending. Furthermore, it is unclear as to what the actual problem with Katya and Oleg’s marriage is. Is it Oleg’s alcoholism? Work? Katya not wanting to become pregnant? Multiple ideas as to why their marriage is not working are brought forth, but not one was actually claimed to be the issue. Rather, the film seemed to be more one large mood swing for Katya and Oleg that ended in them coming back to one another.
More so, it is also unclear as to what actually brought the two back together. Oleg from the beginning of the film proclaimed his love for Katya, however it is not until the end of the film that she believes him. Why does she believe him now? There are a lot of unanswered questions regarding the entire plot and that makes the film rather bland.
The title of the movie, Arrhythmia, is really quite interesting. Arrhythmia is, in non-medical terminology, a heart condition in which the heart beats to an abnormal rhythm. This I believe is a very clever title, reflecting the love of the young couple. Katya and Oleg can be said to have simply had an irregular rhythm within their marriage, which many couples eventually go through.
However, don’t take just my word for it when deciding whether to give the film a chance. The film is actually quite popular among viewers as it received a 7.4 out of 10 IMDb rating, as well as a 100% Tomatometer rating, and 86% audience score. It has also earned several awards such as the Grand Prize of the Festival at Sochi Open Russian Film Festival in 2017, Prize Trieste at the Trieste Film Festival in 2018, as well as the Best Film award at the Nika Awards in 2018.
The movie Arrhythmia was released on September 28th, 2017. The film was produced by CTB Film Company, Color of May, Don Films, Mars Media Entertainment, and Post Control, and directed by Boris Khlebnikov.